BELOIT, Wisc.- After a disappointing loss the night before in which the bullpen struggled mightily, the Snappers' pitching staff came back and tossed a gem on Thursday night. A six-run third inning was more than enough support as Beloit took the rubber match of the three-game set with the Kernels, 7-1. Brett Siddall's three-run blast highlighted the ambush on Cedar Rapids starter Dereck Rodriguez (1-7, 7.71 ERA), whose father, former All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez, was in attendance for his son's start.
After Rodriguez and Snappers starter Michael Murray (1-1, 0.79 ERA) exchanged goose eggs for the first few innings, Beloit broke through against Rodriguez in a big way in the third inning. Jesus Lopez drew a walk to lead off the inning, and then two batters later, Trace Loehr reached on a single. Jordan Devencenzi drove in the game's first run with a bloop RBI single to right field. Trent Gilbert then continued the rally, driving a two-run triple to right center and extending Beloit's lead to 3-0. After Rodriguez drilled Chris Iriart, Siddall capped off the inning with his three-run shot, which was his second home run of the season.
Rodriguez's hit-by-pitch caught the helmet of Iriart, who was on the ground in pain for a few minutes following the pitch. Trainers came to help him, but Iriart was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power. Ryan Howell pinch-ran for him and played first base for the rest of the game.
The Snappers tacked on one more in the fourth inning on Devencenzi's second RBI single of the night. Rodriguez escaped that jam without any further damage, but that would be all for him. His rough season, which included a 6.92 ERA coming into play Thursday night, continued against Beloit: he gave up seven runs on seven hits over four innings. Rodriguez walked one and struck out two in his seventh loss of the season.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the rubber, Murray was spectacular. He danced around danger a few times in the early innings, but managed to escape unscathed and turned in a bullpen-saving effort for Beloit. In just his second start in a Snappers uniform, Murray threw six innings of one-run ball, and that run was unearned because of left fielder Jean Carlo Rodriguez's error prior to J.J. Fernandez's sacrifice fly in the sixth. Murray scattered seven hits while not walking a batter and striking out five.
After Wednesday's disaster that saw Snappers relievers give up four runs, all of which scored on wild pitches, the bullpen was on its game Thursday. Righties Jesus Zambrano and Armando Ruiz combined for three shutout innings to close out the win. Beloit's offense was also much more lively than the previous night, as Loehr and Devencenzi each had two-hit games. Siddall led the way with his three RBIs while Devencenzi and Gilbert each had two.
The Snappers will start a three-game series with the LumberKings tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. CT. James Naile (2-5, 3.28 ERA) will be making his first start with Beloit since winning a spot start at Triple-A Nashville during his last rotation turn. Clinton will counter with Nick Neidert (1-0, 0.90 ERA).
The Beloit Snappers are a member of the Midwest League and are a fourth year Class-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Stay tuned to the team website and social media for all up to date information. For ticket information, contact the Snappers' offices at 608-362-2272 or visit our website at www.snappersbaseball.com.
Written by: Bradley Star