Sacramento River Cats Beat Oklahoma City Dodgers (5-4); Win Third Straight

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Sacramento River Cats won game three of their four game series with the Oklahoma City Dodgers Thursday evening 5-4. The third consecutive win secures Sacramento a series victory heading into the finale tomorrow. The River Cats were backed by multi-hit games from four different players and another dominant starting pitching performance, this time by Clayton Blackburn.

The River Cats have shown consistent hitting in this series, especially in clutch situations. 13 of Sacramento’s 18 runs scored this series have been with two outs. Casey McGehee, Travis Ishikawa, Adam Duvall, and Carlos Triunfel all recorded multi-hit games tonight. Casey McGehee has five multi-hit games in his seven-game hit streak and Ishikawa extended his hitting streak to five games, three of which were multi-hit games, as well.

The River Cats struck early, getting on the board first for the fifth consecutive game. Adam Duvall got things started with a single, and Jarrett Parker hit his seventh double of the season to set the stage for an early lead. Hector Sanchez grounded out to bring home Duvall, and Triunfel followed with a single to drive in Parker. Oklahoma City answered back in their half of the inning with an RBI triple, but Clayton Blackburn limited them to just the one run.

The River Cats never relinquished their early lead, adding three more runs, one in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. Despite a run in the fifth inning and a two-run double from Oklahoma City in eighth, the River Cats held on for the win.

Clayton Blackburn excelled on the mound tonight, preventing the Dodgers from tying the game multiple times. He pitched 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk with 3 strikeouts. Much like in his last two starts, Blackburn consistently got ground balls when he needed them most. His record for the season moves to 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA.

The series finale is set for tomorrow at 5:05 p.m, (PT). The River Cats will send RHP Chris Stratton (0-0, 0.00) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Scott Baker (4-3, 4.67). Stratton began the year in Double-A Richmond and was transferred to Sacramento after the departure of veteran starters Kevin Correia and Robert Coello. He was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round (20th overall) of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State University. Stratton’s Double-A record for the 2015 seasons is 1-5 with a 4.14 ERA. Following tomorrow’s game, Sacramento will return home to Raley Field for a four-game series with the Tacoma Rainiers.

Game Recap Courtesy of Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Game Preview: Spokane Shock (3-6) vs. San Jose SaberCats (10-0)

SAN JOSE, Calif.– The San Jose SaberCats (10-0, 3-0) head into week 11 unbeaten and will host Pacific Division foe, the Spokane Shock (3-6, 0-2) at the SAP Center on Friday, June 5th with kickoff at 7:30PM PDT.

San Jose is coming off a 61-42 victory over the Portland Thunder, improving to 3-0 in the Pacific Division; while Spokane lost a heartbreaking game against the Arizona Rattlers, 59-47 after tying the game with less than two minutes remaining.

In the previous meeting between these two teams three weeks ago, the SaberCats were led by quarterback Nathan Stanley, who threw for eight touchdowns and added another on the ground in an 83-28 lopsided win in Spokane. After returning to the starting lineup from an injury, quarterback Erik Meyer has thrown 16 touchdowns over the past two games and ranks fourth in the Arena Football League with 49 touchdowns on the season. With the 2013 AFL Most Valuable Player settling into a grove under center, the SaberCats’ offense ranks first in the AFL, scoring an average of 61.2 points per game. The game against the Shock will be the first time Meyer squares off against his former team, where he spent the first five years of his AFL career.

The leading man for San Jose receivers this season has been wide receiver Reggie Gray. Over the past two outings, Gray has totaled a combined 338 receiving yards, posting five touchdowns in each game. Gray currently leads the AFL, with 24 receiving touchdowns and has also returned three kickoffs for a touchdown. The SaberCats’ can attribute much of their offensive output to the playmaking ability of “Big Play” Reggie Gray. Gray and the rest of the SaberCats’ receivers will have an opportunity to put up another great performance against Spokane’s defense.

Not to be overlooked, the San Jose defense also leads the AFL, surrendering just 37.9 points per game. Leading the Arena Football League with nine interceptions and 72 tackles in 2015, defensive back Ken Fontenette had his best game of the season against Spokane in week eight. Fontenette intercepted Shock quarterback Warren Smith on three occasions, returning one for a 16-yard interception.

Coming off of his best performance of the season for the Shock last week against the Rattlers, wide receiver Samuel Charles was Smith’s favorite target, grabbing 14 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Amos and Nick Truesdell also has been a spark for the Shock offense. Amos has 10 touchdowns in eight games and last week against the Rattlers, he totaled 10 receptions for 92 yards. Truesdell (6’7 240), is an extreme mismatch for most teams, specifically in the red zone. Last week, he had had six receptions for 78 yards with four of those going for touchdowns. The SaberCats’ league leading secondary will have another litmus test against the Shock receivers.

Against San Jose’s ferocious defensive attack, Smith was erratic in his only game against the SaberCats, throwing three interceptions, being sacked four times and was unable to convert on a fourth-down (0-4). However, Smith, the 2014 Professional Indoor Football League MVP, has thrown for 13 touchdowns in the past two games. Last week against the Arizona Rattlers, Smith threw for 319 yards, rushed for 42 more and had seven total touchdowns, while the Shock were outscored 12-0 in the final minute, after tying Arizona at 47-47. With such a close call last week, expect Spokane to come out strong, as they battle down the stretch for a potential playoff berth.

This season, San Jose has won every game by an average margin of 23.3 points per game. After the blowout 83-28 victory over Spokane less than a month ago, the SaberCats cannot rely on their past success, as anything can happen in the indoor war on any given Friday.

The game can be found on ESPN3 or heard on KDOW 1220AM radio.

Game Preview Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Kris Durham And Chase Williams, Waive/Injured Jacoby Hale

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent WR Kris Durham and undrafted free agent LB Chase Williams, the club announced Thursday.

Durham joins the Raiders following stints with the Tennessee Titans (2014), Detroit Lions (2012-13) and Seattle Seahawks (2011). His career totals include 27 games played with 16 starts, 55 receptions for 699 yards (12.7 avg.) and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-6, 216-pounder had a breakout season with Detroit in 2013, starting 13-of-16 games with 38 catches for 490 yards and two scores. The former Georgia standout entered the league as a fourth-round pick (107th overall) by Seattle in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Williams signs with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent following a four-year career at Virginia Tech. From 2011-14, he saw action in 47 games, starting 10, and totaled 101 tackles (44 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder started a personal-best nine games in 2014, notching 72 tackles on the season with 3.5 sacks.

To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived TE Scott Simonson and waived/injured LB Jacoby Hale. In addition, WR Andre Debose has been placed on the reserve/injured list, while LB Miles Burris was waived from the reserve/injured list.

Press Release Courtesy of Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Beat Oklahoma City Dodgers 7-3 Behind Strong Outing From Ty Blach

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Ty Blach took the mound Wednesday night and dominated the Oklahoma City Dodgers, shutting them out through eight magnificent innings. A first-inning home run from Juan Perez gave Blach and the Sacramento River Cats an early lead, one they would never give up on their way to a 7-3 win over the Dodgers.

Blach was lights out in his 11th start of the season, pitching 8+ innings while allowing 2 runs on 8 hits and striking out 7. He kept the Dodgers off balance all night, mixing his fastball and a devastating change up to continuously get ahead of batters. His command was on point, as he threw 74 of his 105 pitches for strikes and for the sixth time this season, Blach did not walk a single batter, further improving on his PCL best 0.89 BB/9. Blach’s 8 innings pitched is the most thrown by any River Cats pitcher this season.

Juan Perez led off the game for the River Cats, and wasted as little time as possible as he hit the second pitch of the game over the left field fence to give his side an early lead. It was the first leadoff home run by a River Cat since July 22, 2013 (Jemile Weeks). Perez finished the game 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored.

Sacramento added to their lead in the fourth inning when Jarrett Parker hit an RBI single to center, making it 2-0 River Cats. The base hit was the 500th of Parker’s minor league career. In the fifth, the River Cats added two more thanks to a two-out bases-load single by Travis Ishikawa.

The River Cats padded their lead in the eighth, as Perez, Kevin Frandsen, and Casey McGehee all contributed RBIs to push their lead to 7-0. The Dodgers would counter in the ninth, as O’Koyea Dickson drove in their first run of the game, making the score 7-1 and knocking Blach out of the game. Oklahoma City would add two more on a home run by Andy Wilkins, but that would be all they could push across.

OKC starter Matt Shelton didn’t have a chance against Blach, and threw just 4 innings while allowing 2 runs (all earned) on 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 2. The Dodger bullpen had to put in extra work, combining for 5 innings of relief, allowing 5 runs (all earned).

The River Cats will look for their third straight win on Thursday as they send right-hander Clayton Blackburn (1-3, 4.32) to the hill. Blackburn enters the start with the second best WHIP on the Sacramento starting rotation at 1.44. Opposing him will be righty Deck McGuire (1-1, 1.98). First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m (PT).

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Trindon Holliday, Waive/Injured Andre Debose

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent WR/RS Trindon Holliday, the club announced Wednesday. To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived/injured WR Andre Debose with an Achilles injury.

Holliday joins the Silver and Black after stints with the Houston Texans (2011-12), Denver Broncos (2012-13), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014) and San Francisco 49ers (2014). He has appeared in 33 career games, totaling 82 punt returns for 769 yards (9.4 avg.) and 54 kickoff returns for 1,455 yards (26.9 avg.), with a total of four return touchdowns (two punt, two kickoff). In four postseason appearances with Denver, the 5-foot-5, 170pounder has added 90 yards on three punt returns (30.0 avg.) with one score and 12 kickoff returns for 344 yards (28.7 avg.) with one touchdown.

Originally a sixth-round pick (197th overall) by the Houston Texans in the 2010 NFL Draft, Holliday played four years (2006-09) at LSU, where he contributed at running back and led the SEC as a senior in punt return touchdowns (one) and average yards per punt return (18.1). With four career rushing touchdowns in college, Holliday also amassed four return touchdowns (two punt, two kickoff). The Zachary, La., native also won the 2009 NCAA title in the 100-meter dash.

Press Release Courtesy of The Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Nik Turley Is Impressive in River Cats 3-2 Win Over Oklahoma City Dodgers

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – After getting out to an early lead, the Sacramento River Cats took the series opener against the Oklahoma City Dodgers 3-2 Tuesday night. Three runs in the very first inning were enough as Sacramento hung on thanks to a solid return to Triple-A from Nik Turley and a strong finish by the bullpen.

The River Cats got out to an early 3-0 lead with help from singles by Darren Ford and Casey McGehee. Travis Ishikawa drove home Darren Ford on a single of his own, and Juan Perez soon followed with a two-run single to bring home McGehee and Ishikawa. The Dodgers scored a run in their half of the inning, and one again in the seventh, but the River Cats’ pitching came through late to nail down the series opener.

After being designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants, both McGehee and Ishikawa ended up in Sacramento and are trying to work their way back, using tonight as a platform to prove they’re worthy of a spot on the Giants’ roster. McGehee went 2-for-4 with a single and a double. Ishikawa went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI-single.

Kevin Frandsen made his debut as a River Cat in tonight’s game after signing a minor league contract with the Giants over the weekend. The Giants originally drafted him in the 12th round of the 2004 amateur draft. Frandsen went 2-for-3 with two singles against the Dodgers Tuesday evening.

Tonight was Nik Turley’s first game back pitching for the River Cats and he did not disappoint. After 37 games on the Disabled List with a blister issue, he made one start with Class-A Advanced San Jose before being transferred back to Sacramento. Turley pitched 6 solid innings tonight in just his second start of the season with the River Cats, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts.

Cody Hall picked up Turley in the seventh inning and, despite allowing an unearned run, kept Sacramento’s lead. Erik Cordier relieved Hall in the middle of the eighth inning to get the River Cats out of a jam unscathed. Mike Broadway pitched a shutout ninth inning, recording his fifth save in as many tries. The bullpen combined for 3 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks with 2 strikeouts.

Game two of the series will continue tomorrow, with the River Cats sending LHP Ty Blach (4-5, 3.82) to the mound to face the Dodgers’ RHP Zach Lee (5-3, 2.38). Blach’s 1.03 BB/9 is the second best in the PCL behind Oklahoma City’s Scott Baker. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. (PT).

Game Recap Courtesy of Sacramento RiverCats Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Hosts Premier League Club Newcastle United on July 18 at Bonney Field

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –Sacramento Republic FC will host English Premier League club Newcastle United on Saturday July 18, 2015 in a friendly match presented by Chipotle. Kickoff is currently scheduled for 8:00 p.m. PDT at Bonney Field.

The match will be the third annual Sacramento Soccer Day and the second time that Republic FC will face an English Premier League club on Sacramento Soccer Day. Last year Republic FC played West Bromwich Albion on July 25. Sacramento Soccer Day is an annual celebration of soccer in the capital city including recognition of regional youth teams and individuals that have contributed to the sport.

Newcastle United was founded in 1892 after the two clubs in Newcastle upon Tyne, East End and West End joined the two clubs to create one club that would compete in the newly created Football League. Newcastle United has won the FA Cup six times (1910, 1924, 1932, 1951, 1952, 1955) and have won the First Division title four times (1904-05, 1906-07, 1908-09, 1926-27). They play their home matches at St. James’ Park, a 52,000-seat stadium that was a venue for the 2012 Olympics, the 1996 UEFA European Football Championship and will be a venue during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

This friendly is included in the Republic FC season ticket package as Special Match D ticket. Single match tickets will go on-sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9 via Ticketmaster.com.

Match Announcement Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Fall To Sky Sox 5-3 Split Series; Error Proves Costly

Photo Courtesy of The Sacramento River Cats

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Sacramento River Cats and Sky Sox both sent bullpen arms to the mound to start Monday’s matinee finale in Colorado Springs. Looking for their first series win since late April, the defense again stumbled, committing their eighth error of the series as the River Cats fell 5-3 to the Sky Sox.

Veteran righty Juan Gutierrez took the mound for the River Cats, making his first start of the season. Gutierrez had appeared in 13 games for Sacramento prior to today’s game, posting an 0-1 record with one save and a 4.94 ERA. He was excellent for the River Cats filling in as a starter, tossing 3 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2. He threw 39 pitches in the start, 25 for strikes, and recorded five ground ball outs.

His opponent was fellow right-handed reliever Tim Dillard. Dillard, who was also making his first start of the season, went 4 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2.

The River Cats struck first, jumping ahead in the second inning on a towering three-run home run from Casey McGehee. The homer was his second in the last two games and one of three hits on the afternoon. It was a strong end to the series for McGehee, who hit .500 (8-for-16) with 2 walks, 3 runs, 2 home runs, a double, and 6 RBIs over the four games.

The Sky Sox took the lead in the fourth, though, scoring five times off reliever Curtis Partch to go ahead by two. The big hit in the inning came from Colorado Springs’ pinch-hitter Chris Nelson. With the bases loaded, Nelson – who came into the at bat hitting just .158 in his last ten games (3-for-19)  roped a bases-clearing double down the right-field line.

Four of Colorado Springs’ runs in the inning were unearned as Adam Duvall committed his team-leading 10th error of the season on a throw to first. In the series, the River Cats committed eight errors and surrendered 11 unearned runs.

The River Cats were unable to generate a comeback as the Sky Sox bullpen limited them to just three hits over the final five innings. Jarrett Parker, who started the day with 499 career hits, was 0-2 with two walks on the afternoon, postponing the milestone for at least another game.

The River Cats are now 23-29 and will head to Oklahoma City to take on the OKC Dodgers. The Dodgers are 34-15 heading into their game tonight and are in first in the American Northern Division. Nik Turley (0-1, 13.50) will kick things off for the River Cats. The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Joe Wieland (4-1, 5.45). First pitch is 5:05 p.m. PDT. The game can be heard live online at rivercats.com and will join in progress at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN 1320.

Game Recap Courtesy Of The Sacramento River Cats Media Relations