Sacramento River Cats Stratton’s Career-High 12 Strike-Outs Shuts Down The Express

Machi leaves Round Rock stranded in the ninth to save 3-2 win

Round Rock, TXChris Stratton brought the Express offense to a halt Saturday night, dominating game three of the series and setting a new career-high in strikeouts. The right-hander, with the support of his closer and just enough offense, lifted the Sacramento River Cats (40-54) to a 3-2 victory over the Round Rock Express (47-47).

In his first road start back with Sacramento, Chris Stratton proved his Major League abilities on the mound. The starter made a complete one-eighty from his previous start against Round Rock on August 18, 2015 in which he gave up three runs on four hits across four innings of work while walking four. Tonight, he managed seven strikeouts in the first four innings alone and finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts. He allowed just one run on three hits across his eight innings while walking one.

While Stratton seemed to be in control on the mound, his offense struggled to give him the key hit to break the game open. The Sacramento bats were steaming all night with nine hits through the first seven innings but were kept to just one run. Overall, they picked up 13 hits on the night, but left 12 men on base and were just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Through the first six innings of the night, the only scoring managed by either side came by way of the solo home run. The Cats were the first to strike in the fourth inning with a long shot by Austin Slater on an 0-2 pitch over the left-centerfield wall. The Express responded though, in the fifth, with a solo homer of their own off the bat of Joey Gallo.

The clutch hit from the River Cats finally came in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out. Gorkys Hernandez, the team-leader in RBI, banged a single out to left field, scoring Slater and Travis Ishikawa to break the tie and put the Cats up 3-1.

However, it was Jean Machi who saved the win for Stratton. Steven Okert took over in the ninth looking to close out the game, but gave up a run on three consecutive doubles and left with the bases loaded with one out. He handed the ball to Machi, who slammed the door shut and picked up his fourth save on the year by leaving all three Express runners stranded for the 3-2 win.

San Francisco Giants favorite Hunter Pence, who joined the River Cats on a rehab assignment this afternoon, logged two at bats before turning the right field reigns over to Ryan Lollis. The first pitch to Pence struck his left leg in the first inning, and then he singled in the third before being lifted for a pinch runner. The right fielder is tentatively scheduled to rehab with Sacramento for about a week as he recovers from a torn hamstring he suffered at the beginning of June.

Sacramento will send the tall right-hander Joan Gregorio (2-5, 5.63) to seize the series finale tomorrow night. Opposing him will be Round Rock’s right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-6, 4.98). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. (PT) and can be heard live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento Rolls Round Rock 11-4

Mejia sets the tone early, offense racks up 15 hits in blowout

Round Rock, TX – Coming off a 12-inning marathon in last night’s game, it would be understandable if the Sacramento River Cats (39-54) got off to a slow start Friday. The River Cats, however, looked no worse for wear in their 11-4 trouncing of the Round Rock Express (47-46). The offense struck early and often in the second game of the series, backing a strong outing by pitcher Adalberto Mejia.

The offensive output started immediately, as the River Cats scored three runs on four hits in the very first inning off the Express’ left-hander Jack Snodgrass. The three-run first inning was the most scored since June 18 versus El Paso. Snodgrass, who came up through the San Francisco Giants’ system and made eight appearances with Sacramento last season, could not fool the River Cats hitters tonight as the lefty lasted just three innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while walking three.

In the third, veteran catcher Miguel Olivo launched the first pitch he saw, a solo-shot and his seventh home run of the year. One inning later, Andrew Susac mashed his fifth home run of the year, a three-run bomb. Susac, who was Sacramento’s designated hitter tonight, has now hit three home runs in his last five games after hitting two in his first 44.

On the hill tonight for the River Cats was the left-hander Mejia, who pitched a perfect inning for the World Team just five days ago. The southpaw was sensational tonight, going 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing three hits, two walks and striking out five. The ninth ranked prospect in the Giants organization according to MLB.com, Mejia got ahead in the count early and often tonight, throwing first pitch strikes to 17 of the 21 batters he faced.

Mejia was pulled in the fifth inning due to his pitch count (88 pitches 59 for strikes), but not before lowering his ERA from 4.81 to 3.94. The scoreless outing was his first since his Triple-A debut May 18 against El Paso.

Everything was working offensively of the River Cats tonight, as every Sacramento starter had at least one hit and seven different players drove in at least one run. The 11 runs were the most since June 28 versus Las Vegas. The team also registered five stolen bases, including one from the veteran backstop Olivo. The ‘Cats went 6-for-20 with runners in scoring position against the Express tonight and left 11 men on base. Sacramento showed their discipline at the dish tonight as well, earning eight free passes, tying their season-high.

Sacramento will look for their second straight victory Saturday night as right-hander Chris Stratton (5-4, 5.75) takes the hill, making his first start for the River Cats since July 3. Opposing him will be Round Rock’s right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-6, 5.04). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. (PT) and the game can be head live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Unable To Stop Express In Its Tracks

Round Rock wins battle of the bullpens

West Sacramento, CA – It was a back and forth battle between Pacific Coast League bullpens Thursday night as the Round Rock Express (47-45) took the 6-5 win over the Sacramento River Cats (38-54) in 12 innings.

After falling into a July slump, Clayton Blackburn looked to break his three game losing skid with a fresh start coming out of the All-Star break. However, the young right-hander struggled through the first inning and gave Round Rock the early 3-0 lead off three hits and a wild pitch. He later settled in for four scoreless innings, retiring the side in the fourth with three-straight flyouts before an injury removed him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. He finished with 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and a season-high four walks.

Sacramento’s offense struck back in the fifth with a long home run from the Triple-A All-Star Gorkys Hernandez, who steamed straight past the Express defense with a two-run homer to tie the game at three. The centerfielder entered tonight hitting .279 with runners in scoring position with two outs and proved again tonight his ability to capitalize on clutch situations. He went 1-for-3 on the night with a run, a walk, and 2 RBI and remains the RBI-leader for Sacramento with 39 on the year.

Manager Jose Alguacil looked to his bullpen to quiet the Round Rock bats and secure the win, but could not quite find what he needed. With the veteran Mazzaro on the mound in the eighth, Round Rock broke through the tie with a two-run double from Doug Bernier with two outs to push the score to 5-3.

The Cats were not finished just yet. Travis Ishikawa was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to lead off the ninth and was followed by a double from Andrew Susac to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Austin Slater then cut the deficit with an RBI groundout and Chris Denorfia followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in the tying run.

The battle of the bullpens continued as the River Cats used a total of seven relievers. Inning after inning, the defense shut down the Express offense, forcing the game into 12 innings. Combined, the pen allowed three runs on seven hits over 5.2 innings of work.

However, it was River Cats who lost again in heartbreak fashion in the bottom of the twelfth. A leadoff double followed by back-to-back base hits loaded up the bases with no outs for Jake Dunning. The right-hander just couldn’t hold on and finished the game by walking in the winning run for Round Rock.

The River Cats look to halt the “E-Train” tomorrow in game two with left-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.81) on the mound. He faces off against Round Rock’s righty Nick Martinez (6-4, 4.50). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. (PT) and the game can be head live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Ties Orange County Blues FC 3-3

Sacramento Republic FC earn a road point after four goals are scored in the final 20 minutes of a dramatic affair with Orange County Blues FC.

Orange County Blues FC controlled most of the possession in the first 20 minutes of the match, but it was Sacramento Republic FC who struck first on a corner kick in the 21st minute. Midfielder Danny Barrera played a short corner to Alfonso Motagalvan, who sprinted toward the corner flag. Motagalvan then played the ball back to Barrera, who sent a cross to the far post toward Mike da Fonte. The defender sent a one-touch, right-footed volley that hit the inside of the right post and found the back of the net to give Republic FC an early 1-0 lead, which would hold until halftime.

The second half started with Republic FC as the aggressor, but this time it was the Blues that struck first. The Blues drew a penalty in the 50th minute after defender Brenton Griffiths was brought down in the box while attempting to get his head on a corner kick. Midfielder Didier Crettenand stepped up to the take the penalty, rolling the ball into the right corner of the goal while goalkeeper Evan Newton dove left, leveling the score at 1-1.

The Blues found the net again in the 72nd minute. Former Republic FC midfielder Ivan Mirković played a ball through on the left side to substitute forward Akwafei Ajeakwa, who settled the ball on the far left side of the box before sending a cross toward the back post. Trevin Caesar jumped in the air and sent a right-footed volley past Newton to put the Blues ahead 2-1.

Republic FC wasted no time in responding, finding an equalizer in the 79th minute. Barrera took a corner again, this time playing it to the near post. Forward Cameron Iwasa beat his man to the ball, jumping high in the air to head the ball into the goal, to even the score to 2-2.

The Blues once again took the lead in the 81st minute. About 20 yards from goal, near the top of the penalty area on the left side, Ajeakwa was taken down for a free kick. Two Blues players created a slight opening in the wall on Crettenand’s ensuing free kick, which the midfielder used as he hit a hard shot into the top right corner of the goal, giving the Blues a 3-2 lead.

Republic FC once again responded quickly, finding another equalizer in the 83rd minute. Defender James Kiffe played the ball up the left side of the field to Max Alvarez. The substitute midfielder took the pass and immediately crossed the ball into the box, bouncing pas Iwasa and finding substitute forward Mackenzie Pridham. Pridham’s left-footed volley found the upper left corner of the goal and past the diving Josh Cohen making the score 3-3.

Republic FC will continue their five-match road stretch when they travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. and take on Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on July Saturday, 16. Kickoff is 6 p.m. The match will be streamed live at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento Snaps Streak In Heartbreaking Fashion

Sacramento River Cats can’t pull away from Rainiers in 5-3 loss

West Sacramento, CA – The Sacramento River Cats (38-52) came into Saturday night’s game looking to be within single digits of first place Tacoma for first time since May 31. In their 5-3 loss to the Rainiers (48-40), they not only saw the game slip through their fingers, but also a chance to climb closer in the Pacific Northern Division.

The Rainiers jumped out to an early lead in front of a sell-out Raley Field crowd, putting a three spot on the board in the first inning against Sacramento starter Chris Stratton. Tacoma catcher Mike Zunino hit his 16th home run of the year to punctuate Stratton’s three run debacle, giving them the early lead. Prior to tonight’s game, in three home starts, the right-hander had only allowed seven runs in 22 innings pitched.

Susac started the scoring for Sacramento in the second inning, smashing Rainiers’ starter Zach Lee’s 3-1 pitch 424 feet over the centerfield wall. The home run was his second in as many games and fourth on the year. The River Cats added two more runs in the third thanks to RBIs from third baseman Ali Castillo and first baseman Ryan Lollis, knotting the game at three runs apiece. Entering tonight’s game, the River Cats held a 10-33 record when opponents scored first.

Both Stratton and Lee would leave the outcome of this one up to their respective bullpens, as the game would stay tied until the ninth inning.

For the second game in a row, the Rainiers tagged the River Cats bullpen for two runs, with tonight’s damage being done once again by Zunino, launching a two-run shot over the left field fence for the winning runs. Right-hander Jean Machi was the culprit tonight, coming in for relief of left-hander Steven Okert in the ninth, allowing a double before serving up Zunino’s second long ball of the game. On the night, Tacoma managed to get base runners in scoring positions in six of the nine innings.

Six of the Sacramento’s seven hits tonight came in the first three innings of tonight’s loss. Susac finished 2-for-4 with a run and RBI, extending his hitting streak to four games. Through the first three games of this series, the 26-year-old is now 5-for-12 (.416) with six RBI.

The River Cats will look to finish the first half of the season on a high note before the All-Star break. On the hill for Sacramento will be the young right-hander Joan Gregorio (2-4, 5.07) and for Tacoma it will be righty Jordan Pries (1-1, 4.26) making his second start for Tacoma (sixth game). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT) and the game can be head live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Defender Emrah Klimenta To Undergo Season-Ending Knee Surgery

Surgery will repair torn ACL in Klimenta’s left knee.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Sacramento Republic FC defender Emrah Klimenta will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. The surgery date is to be determined, but will take place in approximately one to two weeks and will be performed by the UC Davis Sports Medicine department.

Klimenta injured his knee in a non contact play, while attempting to avoid a tackle, in the 7th minute of Republic FC’s match against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on July 2, 2016. He appeared in 14 USL matches this season, scoring two goals and recording two assists. He also recently received his first international call-up, appearing for the Montenegro National Team in the 75th minute of a friendly match against Turkey on May 29. Klimenta is the Republic FC all-time leader in appearances, starts and minutes played.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Falls To Real Monarchs SLC 3-2

Real Monarchs SLC score three goals in the final 20 minutes to steal three points and a 3-2 victory over Sacramento Republic FC at Bonney Field.

Republic FC dominated the scoring chances department in the first 25 minutes of the match. Forward Adam Jahn had the first scoring chance for Republic FC in the 10th minute when he sprinted past the defense and onto a dangerous through ball from midfielder Octavio Guzman. Jahn was able to flick the ball past oncoming Real Monarchs keeper Eduardo Fernandez, but still had to beat two defenders. Jahn fought off one defender and sent a shot at the goal but could not find the far post as the shot rolled wide and out of play.

Real Monarchs nearly scored in the 27th minute when midfielder Maikon Orellana got on the end of a looping cross. Republic FC keeper Dominik Jakubek had to come off his line to deal with the cross but could not get a glove to the ball. Orellana barely got a touch to the ball as he sent it back across the face of the wide open net, but it rolled all the way to defender Kip Colvey who was able to clear the ball away, keeping the match scoreless into the break.

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Republic FC broke the tie in the 54th minute when forward Cameron Iwasa was fouled just outside the box on the left wing. Midfielder Danny Barrera then stepped up to send a left-footed, out-swinging free kick into the box. Defender Mike da Fonte beat his marker to the ball and drilled a header past Fernandez and into the back of the net. The goal marks consecutive games that da Fonte has scored for Republic FC and the assist marks the fourth consecutive game Barrera has assisted a goal, extending his own club record.

Barrera added to the score line with some more set-piece magic in the 57th minute. The Republic FC captain sent a left-footed, in-swinging free-kick from the right wing. The free-kick inexplicably sailed through a parade of bodies and Fernandez could not find the ball in the chaos. The ball ended up in the side of the net for the 2-0 lead for Republic FC.

Real Monarchs pulled one back in the 72nd minute thanks to a wonder strike from captain Ricardo Velazco. The midfielder found space on the left wing and sent a right-footed curling shot from just outside the box. Jakubek tried to get a glove to the shot as he dove to his left but Velazco’s strike was perfectly placed as it got up and over Jakubek and into the upper corner of the net, making the score 2-1.

Velazco would help pull the Monarchs even in the 82nd minute when he sent a flicked through ball header past the defense. Second-half substitute forward Kevaughn Frater ran onto the ball and send a one-time, left-footed side-volley on goal. Frater’s shot sailed past Jakubek and into the back of the net for the equalizer.

The Monarchs would get the deciding goal in stoppage time. Velazco was the aggressor again for the visitors as he attacked up the left wing, He cut inside and sent a shot on goal, with Republic FC defender Derek Foran marking him. Foran attempted to use his head to block the shot away, but instead deflected the ball past into the back of the net for a stoppage-time own goal to decide the match.

“Any loss is hard to take”, said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle after the defeat. “In football, as we all know, you don’t always get what you deserve. We didn’t deserve that. It’s important now that we start another good run.”

Republic FC will begin a stretch of five straight road matches when they travel to Orange County to take on Orange County Blues FC on Sunday, July 10. Kickoff is 4 p.m. The match will be streamed at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Offense Roars In 6-4 Victory Over Fresno Grizzlies

Sacramento River Cats pile up 15 hits in season’s first win against division rival

Fresno, CA – The Sacramento River Cats (36-50) entered tonight seeking their first win this year against the Fresno Grizzlies (42-41), and did so with a huge night at the plate and support from an equally impressive bullpen. Six ‘Cats had multi-hit nights to help break a deadlocked game in the eighth, while the bullpen held on to close the door late.

After a walk and a balk from Joan Gregorio, Fresno broke through first to take a 1-0 lead at Chukchansi Park. Sacramento quickly followed, however, with a triple from Myles Schroder, his first on the year with the River Cats, which sent home Ryan Lollis to knot things at one.

The game remained locked up at one until the breakthrough fifth inning where back-to-back singles by Travis Ishikawa and Andrew Susac gave Sacramento its first lead of the series. Fresno responded with back-to-back doubles in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game back up at three apiece.

That would be all for Gregorio, who finished just two strikeouts short of a 500 in his career. He entered tonight’s game with 492, needing to match his season-best of eight to reach the milestone. He will have to wait a few more days, however, as he struck out six over five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while walking three. The 6’7” righty struggled to find the zone tonight, throwing just 60 of his 96 pitches for strikes and also committing two balks.

Succeeding Gregorio would be Steven Okert and Tyler Rogers, who combined to retire nine straight while picking up three more strikeouts. Jean Machi entered the game in the bottom of the ninth, giving Sacramento fans a brief scare allowing one run on two hits, but salvaged the win for Okert, who moves to 4-2. The save is Machi’s first with the River Cats this season.

The key eighth inning rally marked a big step forward for a recently struggling Sacramento offense. Three singles from the middle of the order set the table in front of a triple by Rando Moreno that busted the score open at 6-3. The team picked up three runs on four hits in the eighth alone and finished with 15 hits overall, including three for extra bases.

In just his sixth game with Sacramento, Ali Castillo has made his presence known in the River Cats lineup. Tonight he picked up his fifth multi-hit game, finished 3-for-5, and is now hitting .500. Alongside him, Schroder and Moreno each went 2-for-4 with two RBI apiece.

Sacramento closes out the short series against Fresno tomorrow with right-hander Clayton Blackburn (5-6, 5.01) on the mound. The 2015 PCL ERA Champion opposes Grizzlies’ righty Joe Musgrove (3-3, 4.73). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT) and the game can be heard live online at rivercats.com and on the air on ESPN 1320.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations