The Elizabethton Twins took a double-header from the Pulaski Blue Jays on Friday, as they ran their Appalachian League West lead to 7.5 games. Pulaski, who is currently first in the Apply League East, can try to get revenge on Saturday, as the two teams play another double-header. However, on this day, the Twins reigned supreme, thanks to some great pitching, and some timely hitting.
The Twins took the opener 3-1, as Jose Lugo threw six innings of one-run ball. It was by far his best start of the season, as the right-hander has now won four of his six starts since joining E-Town from Beloit. In his six starts this season, Lugo has posted a 3.82 earned run average, and has held batters to a .250 average.
Danny Hernandez picked up the save for the Twins, working one inning for his seventh save of the season. In his last three appearances, Hernandez has not allowed an earned run, and has allowed only one in his last eight outings. The right-hander has dominated left-handed batters this season, as he has not allowed a hit to them in 18 chances.
Offensively, the Twins were led by Danny Valencia and Daniel Berg, who both doubled in the game. Of the team’s six hits, the two combined to collect three of them, and their doubles were the only extra-base hits on the night for Elizabethton. Valencia is now batting .355 on the season since signing with the Twins, and with his RBI, Berg now has 13 on the season.
In game two, the Twins turned to former first-rounder Matthew Fox, who went 4.1 innings, and allowed two earned runs. Fox was making his first start of the season for Elizabethton, as he continues to come back from a potentially career-threatening injury. The 4.1 innings were his longest outing of the year.
Though he pitched badly, Jon Staatz picked up his first win of the season on Thursday, as he went only 0.2 innings of relief. In his short stint, Staatz allowed an earned run, and surrendered three hits. It was his third appearance for E-Town since being promoted from the Gulf Coast League Twins, and was the first time he has allowed an earned run.
Staatz gave way to Matt Williams, who worked a scoreless inning for the Twins. In his last four outings, Williams has not allowed an earned run, as he tries to come back from a bad start to the season for Elizabethton. Williams handed the ball off to Hernandez for the seventh inning, and the right-hander notched his second save of the day.
Gregory Yersich provided the punch for the Elizabethton offense in game two, as he drove in two of his teammates. Yersich has definitely looked more comfortable at the plate when he is catching as opposed to when he is a designated hitter, as he boasted a .316 average when he is being the dish. As a designated hitter, Yersich is only batting .087 in 23 at-bats.
The Twins take on the Blue Jays on Saturday in another double-dip, as the Twins try to increase their division lead. The 2005 Appalachian League Champions are trying to repeat the feat in 2006, and it looks like they might have the team that does just that.