MadFriars.com in Mobile: If you are playing for the Mobile BayBears, today is the day that the cool breezes of San Diego compared to the liquid stickiness of a South Alabama summer is a driving motivation to advance out of Double-A. With a 91 degree game-time temperature (which all of us think is much higher) and matching humidity, “challenging” conditions for a baseball game is a bit of an understatement.
Still not getting the picture? Go inside your bathroom, close the door, turn on the shower as hot as it can go and sit in there. Now you have day baseball in Mobile, or as Paul McAnulty, the BayBears left fielder, opined on playing conditions here, “I would hate to see what hell looks like.”
In the first inning, the Biscuts scored two unearned runs on an infield single, thanks to an error by BayBears’ shortstop Ronnie Merrill.
Paul McAnulty led off the fourth inning with a seeing-eye base hit that the Biscuts’ left fielder misplayed into a double. It was followed by another double, this one smacked against the right center field wall by designated hitter Greg Sain to score McAnulty.
The BayBears threatened again in the fifth inning when second baseman Casey Baker doubled off of the right field wall, but he was negated when center fielder Kennard Jones lined to second base and into a double play.
In the sixth inning the Merrill opened the inning with a single. McAnulty followed and fought off a tough inside pitch with a broken bat hit to right field. First baseman Joe Gerber drove in the tying run on the third consecutive hit of the inning.
Although the BayBears had runners on at first and third with no outs, a fly out to right field by Greg Sain and Cory Smith hitting into an inning ending double play ruined Mobile’s best scoring opportunities of the game.
The Biscuts in the top of the seventh inning also put together three straight seeing eye singles to take the lead for good, 3-2.
In the ninth inning the BayBears gave their fans hope as Joe Gerber led off the ninth with single to left field. Greg Sain failed to move the runner over by popping up his bunt attempt to the first baseman. Cory Smith then struck out. Reserve catcher Luke Carlin walked, putting the winning run on first base. Nick Trzesniak pinch hitting for Mike Richardson, grounded into a game ending fielder’s choice to the shortstop.
One of the bright spots for the BayBears was a strong performance by pitcher Brian Whitaker who has struggled for much of the season. Whitaker went seven strong and surrendered three runs, all unearned, on seven hits.
“I didn’t really change too much around," said Whitaker. "I was just able to keep the ball low and get the batters to pound the ball into the dirt. Earlier in the year I was trying to overthrow and getting the ball up. Also, I had some shoulder problems, but everything is feeling fine now.”