Game #100 Preview – Dash at Potomac

Game #100 – Road Game #50
Winston-Salem Dash (12-17, 40-59) at Potomac Nationals (19-9, 53-43)
Sunday, July 24 – 6:05 p.m. 
Pfitzner Stadium (Woodbridge, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Potomac handed Winston-Salem a pair of losses on Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. Behind a three-run homer from big league rehabber Ryan Zimmerman in the first, the P-Nats cruised to a wire-to-wire 6-2 victory in the opener. In the nightcap, the Dash were able to escape multiple jams until Jose Marmolejos allowed the P-Nats to break through with a walk-off single in the seventh of a 3-2 decision. The Dash hope to snap a six-game road skid and avoid a sweep in Sunday’s finale at Potomac before returning to BB&T Ballpark for a week-long homestand.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Nick Basto went 2-for-3 with an RBI in Saturday’s doubleheader finale (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – C
Telvin Nash – 1B
Marcus Davis – DH
Toby Thomas – 2B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Tanner Banks – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Dating back to July 10, the Dash have lost six consecutive road games. This is the longest such skid in 2016 and two games shy of the worst in the Dash era (2009-present). Winston-Salem has endured two road losing streaks of eight games since the nickname change: August 5-16, 2014, and May 23-June 12, 2015. After posting a 14-14 (.500) road record through the end of May, the Dash are just 5-16 (.238) away from BB&T Ballpark since June 1.
  • During this difficult stretch on the road, Winston-Salem has lost all six of its games at Pfitzner Stadium. It is the second time in the Dash era that Winston-Salem has lost six straight games at one road stadium in a single year. The club also lost six in a row at Myrtle Beach in 2010 (June 7-9; July 30-31, with a doubleheader on July 30). This is the longest streak overall since the Dash dropped seven straight games in Lynchburg (August 8-10, 2014; June 5-7, 2015, with a doubleheader on June 5).
  • A pair of disappointing trends rolled along during Saturday’s doubleheader. Winston-Salem fell to 2-6 in doubleheader games this season, and the squad has been swept in back-to-back twin bills. In Saturday’s doubleheader finale, the Dash also suffered their sixth walk-off loss in their last 19 road games dating back to June 12.
  • Marcus Davis pushed his hitting streak to 10 games with a knock in both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. During this span, Davis boasts an average of .450 (18-for-40) with 10 RBIs and five runs scored. Davis’ current streak is the third-longest by a Winston-Salem hitter this year. He also owns the longest, a 16-game run from May 21 to June 9. All-Star Hunter Jones, who is now in Double-A Birmingham, strung 11 games together from June 10-24.
  • Davis and Dash second baseman Toby Thomas are the top two hitters, in terms of average, in the first month of the second half in the CL. Since the All-Star break ended on June 23, Thomas has a slight edge on Davis with a .385 mark (40-for-104) to go along with one home run, eight RBIs and 18 runs. Davis owns a .378 average (37-for-98) with three homers, 19 RBIs and 18 runs during this span. Thomas and Davis are third and fourth, respectively, in all of High-A in batting average since June 23.
  • The Dash’s bullpen did not surrender an earned run over four innings of action in Saturday’s doubleheader. In the previous seven games, Dash relievers had a 7.52 ERA (30 R, 27 ER in 32.1 IP).
  • Following Sunday’s finale at Potomac, Winston-Salem will play 14 of its next 17 games at BB&T Ballpark (17 of final 23 are road games).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Sunday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 5:50 p.m., with the first pitch set for 6:05 p.m.

-Joe

Doubleheader Preview – Dash at Potomac

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.

Game two Dash lineup:

Michael Suiter – CF
Toby Thomas – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Marcus Davis – 1B
Telvin Nash – DH
Brett Austin – C
Ryan Leonards – 3B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Kelvis Valerio – RHP

Game #98 & 99 – Road Game #48 & 49
Winston-Salem Dash (12-15, 40-57) at Potomac Nationals (17-9, 51-43)
Saturday, July 23 – 5 p.m. (doubleheader)
Pfitzner Stadium (Woodbridge, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Telvin Nash gave the Dash a one-run lead with a pinch-hit grand slam in the top of the ninth, but Drew Vettleson capped a six-RBI effort with a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom half to propel Potomac past Winston-Salem 9-8 on Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium. The Dash will try to bounce back in Saturday’s doubleheader, which will help to make up for a postponement on June 28.

STARTING LINEUP (Game 1):

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Marcus Davis delivered his fourth home run of the season in Friday’s loss (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – C
Telvin Nash – 1B
Marcus Davis – DH
Toby Thomas – 2B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Zach Thompson – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Nash’s grand slam was the first pinch-hit home run in the Dash era (2009-present). In fact, in recorded Winston-Salem franchise history (2005-now), this marks the team’s first pinch-hit home run. Before Friday, Nash was just 2-for-13 (.154) with no home runs as a pinch hitter in the Minor Leagues. In 24 games with Winston-Salem, Nash has clubbed seven home runs and driven home 25 runs over 74 at-bats.

  • Before this week, a Dash player had not hit a grand slam since Trey Michalczewski’s bomb on May 5, 2015, at Frederick. However, Winston-Salem has clocked a pair of grand slams over the last three games. Mason Robbins delivered the Dash’s first home grand slam since August 24, 2013, when Joey DeMichele walked-off with that blast against Myrtle Beach. Before Tuesday, Winston-Salem was the only Carolina League club without a grand slam in 2016.

  • The Dash’s offense continued its torrid July with eight more runs Friday. The Dash are averaging 6.95 runs per game this month (139 runs in 20 games), including 11 games of seven or more runs and six games of 10 or more runs. Winston is second to Lynchburg (7.25) in this category, along with July average (LYN – .317; W-S – .315).

  • The Dash suffered their sixth walk-off loss of the campaign, and five of them have come in their last 17 road games dating back to June 12. On the flip side, Winston-Salem had not endured a walk-off home run since April 12, 2015, when Brenden Webb lifted Frederick to an 11-inning win over Winston-Salem with a two-run blast. In all this year, the Dash are just 6-12 in games decided in a team’s last at-bat.

  • Marcus Davis continued his outstanding second half with three hits and his fourth home run of the season on Friday. Since June 23, the first game of half two, the former Padres farmhand boasts a .380 batting average (35-for-92) with three homers, 19 RBIs and 18 runs scored.

  • Davis’ batting average during this span is fourth-best in all of High-A baseball and second to teammate Toby Thomas (.388; 38-for-98) in the Carolina League. Davis is riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he boasts a .471 mark (16-for-34) with 10 RBIs and five runs scored.

  • Winston-Salem’s bullpen has allowed two or more runs in six of the club’s last seven games, including six over just 2.1 innings in Friday’s loss at Potomac. During these seven contests, the bullpen has logged 32.1 innings and given up 30 runs, 27 of which have been earned (7.52 ERA). Overall this year, the Dash’s bullpen has a 4.63 ERA and has walked 5.3 batters per nine innings.

  • Winston is just 2-4 in doubleheader games this year, including a sweep at the hands of Myrtle Beach in its last twin bill on July 6.

  • In his last start Sunday against the Pelicans, game one starter Zach Thompson earned his first High-A win (5.2 IP, 1 ER). Kelvis Valerio, who gets the call in the nightcap, is 2-1 with a 4.64 ERA in his four previous starts this year.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Saturday’s doubleheader will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 4:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 5 p.m. The stream will remain on throughout both games, including the 30-minute gap between contests.

-Brian

Game #97 Preview – Dash at Potomac

Game #97 – Road Game #47
Winston-Salem Dash (12-14, 40-56) at Potomac Nationals (16-9, 50-43)
Friday, July 22 – 7:05 p.m. 
Pfitzner Stadium (Woodbridge, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Four Potomac pitchers held Winston-Salem to seven hits in a 4-2 Nationals victory Thursday.  The Dash will attempt to halt a three-game slide at Pfitzner Stadium in the second contest of this five-game, four-day series.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Manny Martinez threw two hitless innings on Thursday. His road ERA now sits at 2.11 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 2B
Brett Austin – C
Ryan Leonards – SS
Jordan Stephens – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Five of the Dash’s seven hits came from their one- and three-hole hitters, Landon Lassiter and Mason Robbins. Lassiter scored both of Winston-Salem’s runs after a pair of base hits, giving him five runs in the last two games. Robbins went 3-for-4 to post his team-leading 32nd multi-hit game. The Mississippi native now boasts a .310 average, which is third-best in the Carolina League. Among active, qualified CL hitters, only Frederick’s Aderlin Rodriguez (.311) has a better mark, with Winston-Salem’s Nick Basto a sliver behind Robbins in third (.310). 

  • Winston-Salem’s offense has had a remarkable run since the start of July. After finishing last in the eight-team Carolina League in average in June (.242), the Dash boast a .319 mark in their 18 games this month, which is sixth-highest in the Minor Leagues. Here are the top seven:

    1. Idaho Falls (rookie, Kansas City) – .341
    2. Ogden (rookie, LA Dodgers) – .326
    3. Albuquerque (Triple-A, Colorado) – .325
    4. El Paso (Triple-A, San Diego) – .324
    5. Orem (rookie, LA Angels) – .321
    6. WINSTON-SALEM – .319
    7. Lynchburg (High-A, Cleveland) – .317

  • Even though they mustered two runs Thursday, the Dash are still averaging 6.9 runs per game in July (131 runs in 19 games), including 10 games of seven or more runs and six of 10 or more.

  • Friday starter Jordan Stephens has surged all the way to 10th place amongst Carolina League qualifiers in earned run average (3.76). In his last six appearances, Stephens has lowered his overall ERA by 0.92. During this stretch, the former fifth-round pick has surrendered just eight runs (all earned) over 33.2 innings, calculating to a 2.14 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 39 men during these six starts (10.4 strikeouts per nine innings).

  • Winston-Salem’s bullpen has given up two or more runs in five of its last six games, including a pair of runs in 4.1 innings in Thursday’s opener at Potomac. During these six games, the bullpen has logged 30.0 innings and given up 24 runs, 21 of which are earned (6.30 ERA). Overall this year, the Dash’s bullpen has a 4.49 ERA and has walked 5.2 batters per nine innings.

  • Following Friday’s contest, the Dash and P-Nats will play a doubleheader to make up for the postponement on June 28.

  • For just the second time in his six High-A games, Zack Collins did not record a hit Thursday. He is still hitting .292 (7-for-24) with two homers, eight RBIs and six runs scored with Winston-Salem.

  • Right-hander Connor Walsh (oblique) was activated from the disabled list Thursday (2.56 ERA in 19 games).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Friday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:50 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

-Joe

Game #96 Preview – Dash at Potomac

Game #96 – Road Game #46
Winston-Salem Dash (12-13, 40-55) at Potomac Nationals (15-9, 49-43)
Thursday, July 21 – 7:05 p.m. 
Pfitzner Stadium (Woodbridge, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Mason Robbins’ grand slam was the highlight of a six-run fourth inning that propelled the Dash in front of Myrtle Beach for good in a 13-7 victory in Tuesday’s homestand finale at BB&T Ballpark. After a league-wide off day on Wednesday, Winston-Salem begins a five-game, four-day series against the Potomac Nationals on Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Staff ace Spencer Adams was promoted to Double-A Birmingham on Thursday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – 1B
Zack Collins – C
Toby Thomas – 2B
Marcus Davis – DH
Michael Suiter – CF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Robinson Leyer – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Before Robbins’ grand slam, Winston-Salem had not gone deep with the bases loaded since May 5, 2015, when Trey Michalczewski did it at Frederick. The Dash’s most recent grand slam at BB&T Ballpark had been Joey DeMichele’s walk-off slam on August 24, 2013, which also took place against Myrtle Beach.
  • Winston-Salem’s offense has had a remarkable run since the start of July. After finishing last in the eight-team Carolina League in average in June (.242), the Dash boast a .324 mark in their 18 games this month, which is third-highest in all of Minor League Baseball. Here is the top six:
    1. Idaho Falls (rookie, Kansas City) – .346
    2. Albuquerque (Triple-A, Colorado) – .331
    3. WINSTON-SALEM – .324
    4. Orem (rookie, LA Angels) – .323
    5. Ogden (rookie, LA Dodgers) – .3221
    6. Lynchburg (High-A, Cleveland) – .3220
  • The Dash have scored 129 runs in their 18 games this year, which calculates to 7.2 runs per contest. Winston-Salem has scored seven runs or more 10 times in July, including six double-digit efforts. Nine players have suited up in at least 10 games for the Dash in July, and six of them are hitting above .300. However, Winston-Salem is just 9-9 this month.
  • Many Dash hitters are riding impressive surges. Brett Austin is a .378 (14-for-37) hitter with two homers and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games. Fellow catcher Zack Collins is 7-for-20 (.350) with two homers, eight RBIs and five runs scored in his first five games with Winston-Salem. Marcus Davis has a .348 average and 15 RBIs in 16 games this month, while Telvin Nash has 16 RBIs in his 16 July contests. Toby Thomas boasts a .409 batting average since the All-Star break, which is second in High-A and 12th in the Minor Leagues throughout this span (since June 23).
  • Right-hander Spencer Adams, the third-best prospect in the White Sox system per MLB Pipeline, has earned his first promotion to Double-A Birmingham, the White Sox announced Thursday. Adams exits the Carolina League as its innings leader (107.2), while he went 8-7 with a 4.01 earned run average during his 18 starts. The 20-year-old was the youngest player on the roster by more than a year. Right-handed reliever Yelmison Peralta, who was born on March 3, 1995, now assumes that title (21 years old). Adams’ turn in the rotation was Thursday, so Robinson Leyer will make the start instead.
  • Winston-Salem and Potomac will begin its final series of the regular season on Thursday. This is a five-game, four-day set with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday as the make-up date for the postponement on June 28. Thus far this year, Potomac owns a slight 7-6 edge in the season series, including a 4-2 mark against the Dash at beautiful Pfitzner Stadium.
  • With Tuesday’s win, Winston-Salem improved to 16-10 at home since the start of June. This includes a 4-0-3 mark in series during this span.The Dash were 5-19 in April and May at BB&T Ballpark (worst home mark in the Minors).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Thursday’s game will be broadcast live on 600 AM-WSJS in the Winston-Salem area, as is the case with every Thursday game throughout the season. The game is also available on wsjs.com, as well as wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn App. The Pregame Warthog will begin at 6:50 p.m, with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

-Joe

Game #95 Preview – Dash vs. Myrtle Beach

Game #95 – Home Game #50
Winston-Salem Dash (11-13, 39-55) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (13-12, 49-46)
Tuesday, July 19 – 12:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans plated six in both the second and third innings to cruise past Winston-Salem 15-2 in Monday night’s contest at BB&T Ballpark. The Dash go for the series split on Tuesday afternoon against Myrtle Beach.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Toby Thomas has the second-highest second half average in all of High-A (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – C
Telvin Nash – 1B
Marcus Davis – DH
Toby Thomas – 2B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Thad Lowry – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem permitted season-highs in both runs (15) and hits (18). The club fell one run shy of the worst single-game showing in the Dash era (2009-present). The Dash have surrendered 16 runs on two occasions, with the most recent coming on August 27, 2014, at Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans also posted the most recent hits total that eclipsed the 18 they posted on the Dash on Monday. Winston gave up 20 hits to the Birds in a nine-run loss on July 9, 2014.
  • Despite Monday’s loss, two red-hot Winston-Salem hitters continued their recent tear. Mason Robbins delivered his team-leading 31st multi-hit game (2-for-4), marking his eighth in 17 contests this month. During July, the former Mr. Baseball in Mississippi boasts a .365 average, which is sixth-best in the Carolina League. Toby Thomas also went 2-for-4, pushing his second-half average to .420. During this stretch, which dates back to June 23, Thomas is second in High-A and ninth in the Minor Leagues in average.
  • On the flip side, catcher Brett Austin’s season-long eight-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 effort Monday. Austin was 14-for-30 (.467) with 10 RBIs and seven extra-base hits during this strong run. Still, the former NC State star is hitting .378 this month after posting a .203 average in May and a .125 mark in June.
  • Winston-Salem’s starting rotation contains the top two workhorses in the Carolina League. Tuesday starter Thad Lowry is second on the circuit in innings pitched (102.1), 5.1 shy of teammate Spencer Adams (107.2), who has the edge despite a stint on the disabled list from July 7-14. Lowry has worked at least six innings in seven of his last eight starts, though he has surrendered 14 runs in his last three outings spanning 16.2 innings. Before that, Lowry gave up exactly one earned run in each of his previous five starts (June 9-26).
  • Outfielder Landon Lassiter, a midseason South Atlantic League All-Star, joined the Dash from Low-A Kannapolis Sunday and made his High-A debut as a defensive replacement Monday. He popped out in his lone at-bat in the contest. Lassiter is an alumnus of North Davidson High School and a native of High Point who played three years at the University of North Carolina. In 77 games with the Intimidators, Lassiter posted a .283 average with two homers and 24 RBIs. He took the place of CL All-Star Hunter Jones, who was promoted to Double-A.
  • Following Tuesday’s finale, the Dash will enjoy an off day Wednesday before squaring off with Potomac five times over four days, including a doubleheader Saturday. These meetings mark the final duels between the two clubs this year. Potomac owns a slight 7-6 edge thus far in 2016, which includes a 4-2 mark against the Dash at beautiful Pfitzner Stadium.
  • Dash infielder Nick Basto’s .313 average is second overall and first among active Carolina League qualifiers, though he has endured a modest 2-for-17 slump.
  • Thomas’ 26th double inched him into a share of third place in the CL, although he is seven away from the top spot.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tuesday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 11:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 12:00 p.m.

-Joe

Game #94 Preview – Dash vs. Myrtle Beach

Game #94 – Home Game #49
Winston-Salem Dash (11-12, 39-54) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (12-12, 48-46)
Monday, July 18 – 7:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

First-rounder Zack Collins clubbed a three-run homer to support Zach Thompson’s first High-A victory in Winston-Salem’s 7-2 win on Sunday at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem looks for consecutive wins at home against the Pelicans for the first time this season.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Zack Collins has eight RBIs in just three games with Winston-Salem (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Michael Suiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 2B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Tanner Banks – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Collins, the 10th overall pick in last month’s MLB Draft, has begun his stint with Winston-Salem by going 5-for-12 (.417) with two homers and eight RBIs. The former University of Miami slugger has collected at least two RBIs in each of his first three games with Winston-Salem. Collins is the only Dash hitter to accomplish that feat this season, while only one has plated more runs over a three-game span (Gerson Montilla; nine from May 15-18 [postponement on May 17]).
  • Over the last three games, Winston-Salem has collected 27 runs on 46 hits, including back-to-back 10-run efforts on Friday and Saturday for the first time since May of 2015. In 16 games this month, the Dash boast a team batting average of .331, which is 11 points better than Lynchburg for the top spot in the Carolina League and second in full-season Minor League Baseball. Only the Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A, Colorado) have a better mark (.3312 to .3309). On the flip side, the lowest July average in all of Minor League Baseball belongs to DSL Marlins (.179), a 6-30 club overall.
  • Dash outfielder Mason Robbins recorded his team-leading 30th multi-hit game on Sunday. This month alone, during which he is a .357 hitter, Robbins has logged two or more hits in seven of his 16 contests. Overall, the Mississippi native is sixth in the CL in batting average (.304).
  • While Marcus Davis and Toby Thomas posted respectable numbers in the first half, the duo has been electric since the All-Star break. Davis’ overall average has jumped from .254 to .279 thanks to a .368 mark (28-for-76) since the second half began on June 23. In those 18 games, Davis has two homers, 15 RBIs and 14 runs. In his last two contests, Davis is 7-for-10 with four RBIs. Thomas paces High-A baseball and is ninth in the Minor Leagues with a .417 average (35-for-84) since June 23. This surge has bumped his 2016 mark 49 points to .280.
  • Just 360 days after making his Dash debut, right-hander Carson Fulmer made his White Sox debut on Sunday against the Angels in Los Angeles. Fulmer struck out Albert Pujols on three pitches to begin his first big league outing and ultimately blanked the Halos over two strong innings. In addition, former Dash catcher Omar Narvaez, who worked in a battery with Fulmer in Game 1 of last year’s SDCS in Winston-Salem, doubled in his first Major League at-bat.
  • Outfielder Landon Lassiter, a midseason South Atlantic League All-Star, joined the Dash from Low-A Kannapolis on Sunday. Lassiter is a North Davidson High School alumnus and a High Point native who played three seasons at the University of North Carolina. In 77 games with the Intimidators, Lassiter hit .283 with two homers and 24 RBIs. He took the place of CL All-Star Hunter Jones, who amassed three RBIs in his Double-A debut with Birmingham Sunday.
  • Before his last start, southpaw Tanner Banks owned a four-game personal winning streak, though Potomac tagged him for six runs (all earned) in Wednesday’s homestand opener.
  • Dash catcher Brett Austin has strung together a season-long eight-game hit streak, which has yielded 14 hits (half of which for extra bases).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Monday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.

-Joe

Robbins’ early decision is paying off

Mason Robbins was in high school at George County in Leakesville, Miss., when his dad told he and his two brothers to made a difficult decision–football or baseball.

“My brothers and I played football,” Robbins said, with a southern Mississippi inflection in his voice, “But my dad said choose a sport that you think you could succeed in. And for all of us, it was baseball.”

Fast forward to Winston-Salem at age 23, and the Dash right fielder is a consistent source of productivity in 2016 for the Dash, holding the third-best batting average (.304) among active, qualified Carolina Leaguers. He also leads the Dash in multi-hit games (30).

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Mason Robbins has been a steady presence in Winston-Salem’s lineup this season (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Growing up, Robbins had a batting cage outside of his house, where he and his two brothers Logan and Walker hit almost every day. When they skipped the cage, they took their cuts in the open area next to the house to get a feel for hitting on an actual field.

“It’s a work ethic, getting out there and hitting every day,” Robbins said. “It’s the exact same thing we do, is we get to the park early and we hit early. Hitting every day, you’ve got to get in the same routine of swinging the bat and getting your rhythm.”

The three brothers who hit in the cage together have each made it to the next level in baseball. Logan, the middle brother, pitches for Jones County Junior College. The St. Louis Cardinals recently drafted Walker, the youngest, in the fifth round out of high school.

Before Walker was drafted this year, the state of Mississippi named him ‘Mr. Baseball’, awarded to the best player in the state. Mason received the title in 2011. His senior season, Mason led Mississippi in home runs at 14 with a .500 batting average and a 1.63 ERA.

That same year, Mason and two of his friends were up for the Mr. Baseball award. Robbins was there to accept the award when he won, while one of the others was playing in the state championship game.

“It was a good award to have,” but, Robbins said, “I would have much rather been playing in the state championship.”

The ‘Mr. Baseball’ of 2011 turned down professional baseball when the Mets drafted him in the 20th round out of high school, opting for three years of college at Southern Mississippi. Three years later, the White Sox drafted him in the 25th round in 2014 as a junior.

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Robbins starred at Southern Mississippi for three seasons before being drafted by the White Sox in 2014 (Hattiesburg American).

 To find out what works for Robbins in the batter box – or isn’t working, though the left-hander’s batting average has yet to drop under .270 since May 4  – is simple.

“Most of the time it’s nothing wrong with your swing,” Robbins said. “It’s the timing or the pitches you swing at.”

He works with Dash hitting coach Charlie Poe, who throws him three rounds in the batting cage, two with pitches on the outside of the plate and one switching from outside to inside locations.

Robbins has remained for just a season in each Minor League level, steadily rising through the White Sox farm system. One season in rookie ball in Great Falls, where he hit .304 and led the team in hits (70). The next season in Low-A Kannapolis, he collected 47 RBIs and hit .263. Now, his current residence is Winston-Salem for the 2016 season.

A consistent time frame in each place, with a consistent batting average to go with it.

If anything has changed, it is Robbins’ understanding of his role in a lineup. For most of the season, he hits second in the batting order. He puts the ball in play and has hit .556 for the Dash with the bases loaded. He drives in runs despite going deep just twice all year.

“I don’t hit a lot of home runs,” Robbins said, “but I hit a lot of doubles because I hit to the middle of the field a lot. I’ve learned to not worry about the power numbers as much, just try to do whatever I can every day to help the team win and learn that doubles may not be a home run, but it’s productive.”

Mason has been incredibly productive for the Dash after a productive decision that he and his brothers made a few years ago.

-Jackie

Game #93 Preview – Dash vs. Myrtle Beach

Game #93 – Home Game #48
Winston-Salem Dash (10-12, 38-54) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (12-11, 48-45)
Sunday, July 17 – 5:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem rallied for three in the bottom of the ninth to force extras, but Myrtle Beach edged the Dash 12-10 in 12 innings in Saturday’s series opener. The Dash look to put on another strong offensive showing against Myrtle Beach on Sunday at BB&T Ballpark.

STARTING LINEUP:

Davis640_0604_1

Marcus Davis accumulated four hits in the Dash’s wacky 12-10 loss in 12 innings on Saturday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Michael Suiter – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – C
Telvin Nash – 1B
Marcus Davis – DH
Toby Thomas – 2B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Zach Thompson – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem has scored 10 runs in each of its last two games, marking the franchise’s first run of back-to-back double-digit run outputs since May 7-8 of 2015. The Dash blasted Frederick 14-2 before downing Myrtle Beach 10-6. Winston boasts a .331 average in July, which paces the Carolina League (2nd – Lynchburg, .321). Only the Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A, Colorado) have a better July average in the Minors (.338). In the club’s 15 games this month, Winston-Salem is averaging 7.1 runs per game (107 total), which is second to Lynchburg in the CL.
  • One night after matching a season-high for runs in an inning (eight in the fourth against Potomac), the Dash set a new single-game mark for hits in a 2016 contest. Winston-Salem banged out 21 hits, one more than its previous high-water mark on April 22 at Salem. This marked the Dash’s biggest offensive effort in hits since August 21, 2011, a 23-knock explosion at Potomac. The Dash-era record for hits is 26, which also took place against Potomac on July 23, 2010.
  • Of the Dash’s 21 base hits, Marcus Davis and Mason Robbins recorded four apiece, which matched career-highs for both men. Davis, who tied the game with an RBI double in the ninth, is hitting .347 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games since the All-Star break. Robbins notched his team-leading 29th multi-hit game Saturday, pushing his average to .302 (7th-best in the CL).
  • The White Sox announced Sunday that All-Star outfielder Hunter Jones has earned his first career promotion to Double-A Birmingham. The former Cleveland farmhand leaves as the CL leader in hits (104), while he is second in runs (62) and fourth in stolen bases (31). He was the last player on the circuit to miss one of his team’s games (the 70th and final contest of the first half). Overall, Jones was a .286 hitter with five home runs and 34 RBIs in 90 games.
  • Even though the Dash lost an All-Star, they did receive an All-Star Sunday. Outfielder Landon Lassiter, who was a midseason South Atlantic League honoree, has joined the Dash from Low-A Kannapolis. Lassiter is a North Davidson High School alumnus and a High Point native who played three seasons at the University of North Carolina. In 77 games with the Intimidators, Lassiter hit .283 with two homers and 24 RBIs.
  • Thanks to a 3-for-4 effort that included a two-run homer in the sixth, Brett Austin pushed his season-long hit streak to eight games. During the surge, the former NC State star is 14-for-30 (.467) with 10 RBIs and seven extra-base hits. Fellow catcher Zack Collins, the White Sox top pick in last month’s MLB Draft, is 4-for-10 (.400) with five RBIs in his first two games with the Dash. Toby Thomas leads the CL and is second in High-A with a .425 average (34-for-80) since the All-Star break (6-for-9 in his last two games).
  • Because of their 12-inning defeat Saturday, the Dash dropped to 2-5 in extras, which stands under all other Carolina League clubs in that baseball category.
  • Righty Zach Thompson, Sunday’s starter, gave up a career high-tying seven runs against Frederick in his High-A debut on Monday.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Television coverage of Sunday’s contest will be available on My48 at 2 p.m. A full channel guide is available here. The game will also be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 4:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 5 p.m.

-Joe

Game #92 Preview – Dash vs. Myrtle Beach

Game #92 – Home Game #47
Winston-Salem Dash (10-11, 38-53) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (11-11, 47-45)
Saturday, July 16 – 6:30 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

In his Winston-Salem debut, first-rounder Zack Collins logged three hits, including a three-run blast during an eight-run fourth, in the Dash’s 10-4 thumping of Potomac at BB&T Ballpark. On Friday, the Dash begin a four-game set against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who invade the Triad for the final time this season.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Zack Collins smashed a three-run blast in his High-A debut on Friday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Hunter Jones – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 2B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Jordan Stephens – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • During its eight-run fourth, Winston-Salem sent four men to the plate twice. It marked the club’s second eight-run inning of 2016, with the other coming in the deciding 13th on Opening Day at Lynchburg (April 7; 14-6 Dash win). Since the nickname change to Dash in 2009, Winston has scored more than eight runs only once. The Dash amassed nine runs in the seventh inning of a 14-2 rout at Frederick on May 7, 2015. Despite the massive run total, the Dash only logged four hits in Friday’s tie-breaking fourth.
  • Collins’ three-run blast, a majestic shot to the Foothills Brew Pen, was his first professional long ball. After going 1-for-11 with seven whiffs in the AZL, Collins produced Friday like he did so often at the University of Miami during his remarkable college career. Collins won the 2016 Johnny Bench Award, given to the best catcher in college baseball, after hitting .363 with 16 home runs, 59 RBIs and 54 runs in 62 games. He helped Miami reach the College World Series before becoming the 10th overall pick.
  • The fifth through eighth hitters in the Dash’s order reached base in 16 of their 20 trips to the plate via two home runs, two doubles, seven singles and five walks. The rest of Winston’s lineup went a combined 3-for-20.
  • Collins was the five-hole hitter in his Dash debut, while Telvin Nash reached via three walks in his five trips to the plate out of the six spot. Thomas reached safely in all five trips to the plate and logged his fourth career four-hit game. Since June 23, the start of the second half, Toby Thomas is hitting .427 (32-for-75), which leads the CL, is second in High-A and is ninth-best in all of Minor League Baseball.
  • Eight-hole hitting Michael Suiter also mustered four hits in his first game since Sunday. It was his second career four-hit showing and his first since July 22, 2014, when he was with the AZL White Sox.
  • On May 31, Winston-Salem was 5-19 (.208) at BB&T Ballpark, the worst home mark in the Minor Leagues. The Dash had lost six of their first seven home series, with the other being a four-game split with Potomac from May 13-16. Since the start of June, Winston is 14-8 (.636) at home, and the club is undefeated in home sets. The Dash’s overall home mark of 19-27 (.413) is still second-worst in the CL (Wilmington, 16-29).
  • Carson Fulmer, a key cog to the Dash’s playoff push a year ago, earned his first promotion to the Majors, the White Sox announced Friday. Fulmer is the first member of the 2015 MLB Draft class to reach the Show. He did not appear in the White Sox 7-0 loss to the Angels on Friday. Fulmer is the 347th Winston-Salem alumnus to reach the Major Leagues (39th in the Dash era).
  • Friday starter Jordan Stephens had allowed just a single run in his last four outings over 27.1 IP until his most recent outing Monday. Frederick collected three runs on six base hits, ultimately knocking Stephens out after four innings.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Saturday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:15 p.m., with the first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.

-Joe

Game #91 Preview – Dash vs. Potomac

Game #91 – Home Game #46
Winston-Salem Dash (9-11, 37-53) vs. Potomac Nationals (13-6, 47-40)
Friday, July 15 – 7:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash plated two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to rally past Potomac 5-3 in Thursday’s middle match at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem looks for the series win in the rubber match of the three-game set.

STARTING LINEUP:

Rondon640_0612_1

Cleuluis Rondon has nine RBIs in his last nine games (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Hunter Jones – CF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – 1B
Zack Collins – C
Telvin Nash – DH
Toby Thomas – 2B
Michael Suiter – LF
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Spencer Adams – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem had not collected a last at-bat victory in more than two months before Thursday night. The Dash’s last such win also came when the P-Nats were at BB&T Ballpark, when Adam Engel delivered a walk-off single in the 11th inning on May 13. At that point of the season, Winston had churned out five last at-bat wins, two of the walk-off variety, in its first 35 games.
  • On Thursday, Thad Lowry spun Winston’s first start of six or more innings since July 4, when Jordan Stephens whiffed a career high-tying nine over six innings. Lowry’s outing was the longest by a Dash hurler since June 26, when Lowry befuddled Wilmington over seven frames. The last time someone other than Lowry worked into the seventh was Tanner Banks on June 25.
  • Right-hander Spencer Adams was activated from the disabled list and will start in Friday’s rubber match with Potomac. The third-best White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, Adams left his most recent start on July 7 due to a scary-looking right ankle injury that ended up being minor. The 20-year-old missed just seven games during what was his first stint on the disabled list as a professional. Despite the absence, Adams stands second to Lowry in the Carolina League in innings pitched (102.1 to 101.2).
  • Carson Fulmer, a key cog to the Dash’s playoff push a year ago, has earned his first promotion to the Major Leagues, the White Sox announced Friday. Fulmer, the eighth-overall pick last year, is the first member of the 2015 draft class to reach the Majors. The former National Champion at Vanderbilt, Fulmer posted a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings with Winston-Salem last year. The Dash did not lose a game during which he pitched. The top prospect in the Sox system per MLB Pipeline, Fulmer is the 347th Winston-Salem alumnus to reach the Major Leagues. Since the nickname change to Dash in 2009, the Dash have graduated 39 players to The Show.
  • On the day that Fulmer earns his first big league call, another White Sox first-round pick will make his Dash debut. Catcher Zack Collins, the 10th overall selection in last month’s MLB Draft, is hitting fifth and catching for the Dash on Friday. Collins won the Johnny Bench Award, honoring the best catcher in college baseball, after hitting .363 with 16 homers, 59 RBIs and 54 runs scored in 62 games with the University of Miami. He led the Hurricanes to the College World Series before inking a deal with the Sox.
  • Winston-Salem wore commemorative Warthogs jerseys for the final time in 2016 on Thursday. Before the franchise was known as the Dash, it went by the Warthogs moniker from 1995-2008. Winston was 2-1 with the ‘Hogs jerseys this year.
  • Winston-Salem is 2-3 in its previous rubber matches thus far this season.
  • This marks the P-Nats’ final visit to BB&T Ballpark in 2016.
  • The Dash will invade Pfitzner Stadium for a five-game, four-day series from July 21-24 to conclude the season series between the two clubs.
  • Brett Austin is riding a seven-game hit streak, which ties a season-long. During this run, Austin is 11-for-26 (.423) with eight RBIs.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Friday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.

-Joe

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