The Scrappers pitcher demonstrated that he knows how to get out of trouble in a win over New Jersey.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Mahoning Valley Scrappers manager Dave Turgeon has a simple explanation for his pitching prospect's inconsistent periods on the mound.
"Sometimes, honestly, I think he gets bored," Turgeon said of right-hander Nick Moran, who paved the way for the Scrappers' 6-4 victory Tuesday over the New Jersey Cardinals at Cafaro Field.
Take the second inning, for example. New Jersey singled three straight times off Moran to load the bases with no outs.
"He loses focus, and all of a sudden he's surrounded out there," Turgeon said. "He goes, 'OK, I've got to break out my A stuff.' And he does."
Tough in clutch: The Cleveland Indians' third-round draft pick who signed for a $400,000 bonus, Moran struck out Jordan Robison and Michael Fox before getting Chris Netwall to fly out to short.
"Did you see him turn the switch on when the bases were loaded?" Turgeon said. "Of course, my heart and my pitching coach's heart can't take that."
Moran said, "Most of the time in a game, there's a few points you can look back on and say that was going to be a key point. Obviously, bases loaded and no outs ..."
After he escaped the bases-loaded jam, the 6-foot, 5-inch Moran, a first-year player from Fresno State University, retired the Cardinals consecutively in the third inning.
Comeback: "That's not the first time that's happened," Turgeon said of Moran coming back strong.
"He has so much ability," Turgeon said. "I think the kid's special."
Moran loaded the bases again, this time with two outs in the fifth inning, and couldn't come away unscathed, because Billy Schmitt hit a two-run single.
"I wasn't real tired, but my mechanics just went out the window," Moran said. "That cost me the fifth because that [two runs scoring] was a direct result of walking guys."
Moran (5-2) entered the game with 62 strikeouts and just nine bases on balls. He walked four Tuesday but ended up with the win. In five innings, he allowed two runs on five hits, with four strikeouts.
"Unbelievable," Turgeon said of the four walks. "He hasn't walked anyone all year; he walked everybody tonight."
Cushion: The Scrappers (26-48) gave Moran a 5-0 lead by scoring four runs in the third inning, which was highlighted by Rickie Morton's triple to the right center field gap.
Angel Bastardo, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Brian Kirby added RBI singles in the inning. The Scrappers scored their first run in the second inning on Travis Santini's ground-out.
"I was feeling comfortable today," Bastardo said. "I was seeing the ball very good."
New Jersey (34-41) cut the Scrappers' lead to 5-4 in the seventh inning with two runs off reliever Todd Culp. But Culp closed the game strong to record his second save.
"These guys want to show these fans that they never mailed in anything all season," Turgeon said of his team, "to the very last day."
NEW JERSEYMAHONING VALLEY
Nelson cf5000Lillash 2b4110
Santos ss4100Peshke 3b3110
Roman 1b4211Morton 1b4112
Williams 3b2021Quintana cf3220
Schmitt dh5022Bastardo c4132
Schumaker rf3020Kirby lf3011
Robison lf4000Santini rf4001
Fox 2b4000Finnerty dh3000
Netwall c3110Uegawachi ss4000
E--Fox. DP--New Jersey 1. LOB--New Jersey 10, Mahoning Valley 6. 3B--Morton. 2B--Bastardo 2, Lillash, Kirby, Netwall, Peshke, Roman, Schumaker. CS--Peshke, Williams.
Parrott L, 1-3575515
Moran W, 5-2552244
Culp S, 2432227
WP--Parrott. HBP--Peshke (by Parrott), De Los Santos (by Culp). Umpires--Brett McCrery, home; Jerry Deneen, bases. T--2:27. A--4,001.
HOW THEY SCORED
MAHONING VALLEY 1, NEW JERSEY 0
Scrappers: Miguel Quintana walked, Angel Bastardo doubled down the left-field line, Brian Kirby struck out. Travis Santini grounded out to short, Quintana scored, Bastardo to third. Francis Finnerty grounded out to short. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 5, NEW JERSEY 0
Scrappers: Bryce Uegawachi grounded out back to the pitcher. Keith Lillash doubled to left, Chad Peshke was hit by a pitch, Rickie Morton tripled into the gap in right center, Lillash, Peshke scored. Quintana struck out. Bastardo singled up the middle, Morton scored. Kirby hit a ground-rule double to right center, Bastardo scored. Santini struck out. 4 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 5, NEW JERSEY 2
Cardinals: Chris Netwall doubled to right, John Nelson grounded out to second, Netwall to third. Santos De Los Santos grounded out back to the pitcher. Jesse Roman walked, Matt Williams walked to load the bases. Billy Schmitt singled to left, Netwall, Roman scored, Williams to third. Skip Schumaker flied out to right. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 5, NEW JERSEY 4
Cardinals: De Los Santos hit by a pitch, Roman doubled to left, De Los Santos scored. Williams singled up the middle, Roman scored. Williams thrown out at second trying to steal. Schmitt struck out. Schumaker doubled down the left-field line, Jordan Robison struck out. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left.
MAHONING VALLEY 6, NEW JERSEY 4
Scrappers: Morton struck out. Quintana singled in the infield, Bastardo doubled into the gap in left, Quintana scored. Kirby walked, Santini struck out. Finnerty walked to load the bases. Uegawachi flied out to center. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left.