Results tagged ‘ Winston-Salem Dash ’

Game #139 Preview – Dash at Carolina

Game #139 – Road Game #69
Winston-Salem Dash (28-40, 56-82) at Carolina Mudcats (22-46, 51-87)
Monday, September 5 – 12 p.m. 
Five County Stadium (Zebulon, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The 2016 season comes to an end Monday, with the Dash hoping to avoid a sweep at Carolina. Winston-Salem dropped both ends of a doubleheader on Sunday, including a 3-2 walk-off defeat in the nightcap.

STARTING LINEUP:

Robbins640_0426_2

Mason Robbins will wrap up the Carolina League’s batting title on Monday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Dante Flores – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Toby Thomas – 3B
Marcus Davis – 1B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Tanner Banks – LHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Carolina’s three-run rally in the home half of the seventh overshadowed another brilliant outing from righty Jordan Stephens, who struck out eight over five shutout innings in Sunday’s finale. In his final three starts of 2016, the former Rice University star gave up just two runs (both earned) on nine hits in 15.0 innings, during which he struck out 29 batters.

  • However, a frustrating trend continued, as the Dash fell to 8-19 in Stephens’ 27 starts, even though he stands second in the Carolina League in ERA (3.45). Winston-Salem averaged just 4.0 runs per game in Stephens’ starts.

  • Stephens’ 155 strikeouts represent the most by a Winston-Salem hurler during the Dash era (2009-present). The previous record belonged to J.B. Wendelken, who whiffed 129 in 2014. No pitcher in franchise history had collected more than Stephens’ 2016 total since Carlos Chantres fanned 158 for the 1997 Warthogs. Stephens’ total is also the highest by a Carolina Leaguer since Lynchburg’s Aaron Northcraft whiffed 160 during the Hillcats’ championship season of 2012.

  • Winston-Salem has locked up the worst season in the Dash era. The previous low-water mark came in 2014, when the club was 61-78 (.439). Winston’s winning percentage of .410 (with a win Monday) or .403 (with a loss Monday) will be the franchise’s lowest since 2002 (50-90; .357).

  • Barring a remarkable turn of events, Winston-Salem outfielder Mason Robbins will win the Carolina League’s batting crown. Robbins’ .316 mark is nine points better than teammate Nick Basto, who is second at .306. Robbins will also finish atop the CL in hits (159 entering Monday).

  • The true race is for second place, with Basto holding a two-point advantage on Frederick’s Aderlin Rodriguez. Should Basto maintain that edge, the Dash would boast the top two hitters in the league for the second time in five seasons. In 2012, Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished one-two on the circuit with .315 batting averages.

  • While the Dash’s season will not include a trip to the postseason, Triple-A Charlotte will meet the Gwinnett Braves on Monday at 2:05 p.m. in a winner-take-all game for the International League South Division title. The Knights have not been to the IL’s postseason since 2012, when current Dash manager Joel Skinner was leading the way.

  • The only team in the White Sox system that has solidified a playoff spot is short-season Great Falls. The Voyagers, winners of 14 in a row, have been to the Pioneer League playoffs nine times in the last 10 seasons.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

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

-Brian

Doubleheader Preview – Dash at Carolina

UPDATE:

Game two Dash starting lineup:

Landon Lassiter – LF
Toby Thomas – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – 1B
Zack Collins – DH
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Michael Suiter – CF
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Jordan Stephens – RHP

Game #137 & 138 – Road Game #67 & 68
Winston-Salem Dash (28-38, 56-80) at Carolina Mudcats (20-46, 49-87)
Sunday, September 4 – 4 p.m. (doubleheader)
Five County Stadium (Zebulon, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Thanks to Friday’s postponement, the Dash and Mudcats will play a pair of seven-inning games on Sunday from Zebulon. Winston-Salem swept Carolina in a twin bill at BB&T Ballpark last month.

STARTING LINEUP (Game 1):

Robbins640_0707_2

With three games remaining, Mason Robbins is atop the Carolina League in both batting average and hits (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – CF
Dante Flores – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Marcus Davis – 1B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Robinson Leyer – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Over their last three games dating back to Wednesday, the Dash have stranded 37 runners, their highest three-game total of the season. They matched their season-high in this category in their final two games at Salem (13) on Wednesday and Thursday before leaving 11 in the loss to the Mudcats on Saturday. In these three games, Winston-Salem has gone 12-for-49 (.245) with runners in scoring position.

  • Saturday began a sprint to the finish line for the Dash and Mudcats, two teams that will not suit up in the Carolina League postseason. Thanks to Friday’s postponement, which brought about Sunday’s doubleheader, this four-game series will almost certainly start and finish in less than 48 hours. Monday’s regular season finale will begin at noon. Sunday marks the Dash’s seventh doubleheader of the season. Even though they are just 4-8 in games within a twin bill, the Dash did sweep Carolina in a pair of seven-inning games at BB&T Ballpark on August 11.

  • While the Dash will not be returning to the CL postseason, a White Sox affiliate has already punched its ticket. Short-season Great Falls, led by former Dash manager Tommy Thompson, has won 13 straight to earn a spot in the Pioneer League playoffs. Triple-A Charlotte must win its final two games against Gwinnett to advance to the International League playoffs.

  • Right-hander Jordan Stephens will make his final start of 2016 on Saturday in Zebulon. In his last two starts, Stephens has fanned 21 batters over 10.0 innings, during which he has given up just two runs. In each of those outings, he has recorded a new career-high for strikeouts (10 on August 24 at Frederick; 11 on August 29 at Salem).

  • Overall this season, Stephens has struck out 147, which is a single-season Dash-era record (2009-present). The previous record belonged to J.B. Wendelken, who whiffed 129 in 2014. Stephens also paces the Carolina League in strikeouts, while his 3.57 ERA is second-best among qualifiers.

  • Dash Year-End All-Stars Mason Robbins and Nick Basto are first and second, respectively, in batting average in the Carolina League. Should this remain the case, the Dash would have the top two hitters in the CL in batting average for the second time in five seasons (2012; Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black).

  • Here are the three remaining contenders for the CL’s batting title (Saturday’s results in parentheses):
    1. Robbins – .316 (1-for-5)
    2. Basto – .307 (2-for-5)
    3. Frederick’s Aderlin Rodriguez – .305 (2-for-5)

  • Winston-Salem has clinched its worst season in the Dash era (2009-present). The previous low-water mark came in 2014, when the club posted a 61-78 (.439) record. However, that season, the Dash finished last in the Carolina League in overall record. This year, Winston-Salem will finish ahead of both Wilmington and Carolina no matter what the result of the final three games.

  • In addition to leading the CL in average, Robbins also stands atop the circuit in hits with 157, nine more than second-place Rodriguez.

  • Cleuluis Rondon is riding a season-long six-game hitting streak, during which he is 10-for-23. He went 1-for-4 in Saturday’s opener at Carolina.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Sunday’s doubleheader will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 3:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 4 p.m.

-Brian

Game #136 Preview – Dash at Carolina

Game #136 – Road Game #66
Winston-Salem Dash (28-37, 56-79) at Carolina Mudcats (19-46, 48-87)
Saturday, September 3 – 6 p.m. 
Five County Stadium (Zebulon, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

After a series win at Salem and a postponement on Friday, the Dash resume their season-ending road trip on Saturday night against Carolina. This four-game series will almost certainly start and finish within a 48-hour period, with a doubleheader on Sunday and a noon first pitch on Monday.

STARTING LINEUP:

Basto640_0508_1

Nick Basto is back in the starting lineup for the first time since Sunday after a day-to-day injury (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

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

DASH DOTS:

  • Before traveling to Zebulon, the Dash took their series at Salem, a three-gamer that included a suspended game on Wednesday. That game was the Red Sox lone win of the set, as they rallied from a 7-0 deficit to claim a 9-8, 11-inning decision. Salem plated four in the ninth to force extras. In the 11th, the only frame that was played Thursday, Toby Thomas gave the Dash a short-lived lead with an RBI single before Mike Meyers thrust Salem to a walk-off win with a two-out, two-run single in the home half.

  • About an hour after the suspended game was completed, Winston-Salem and Salem concluded the series, and the Dash cruised to a 7-2 victory. Zach Thompson spun 6.2 innings and only gave up two runs on six hits, while the Dash pulled away with four in the eighth frame. Thus, the Dash finished 7-4 at Salem this season. The Red Sox, who boast the top home record in the Carolina League (46-24), went 42-17 (.712) at home against the rest of the circuit.

  • In Wednesday’s tough loss, the Dash did have quite a bright spot, scoring six against Salem’s Michael Kopech in the first. Kopech walked the first five he faced. With two down and the bases loaded, Brett Austin launched his first Minor League grand slam, the fourth by a Dash hitter this year, to oust Kopech, who had never given up more than three earned runs as a pro.

  • Catcher Zack Collins coaxed four free passes Wednesday, which matches a single-game record since the nickname change. Landon Lassiter accomplished the feat on August 9, with the only other instance coming on July 4, 2015 (Trey Michalczewski).

  • There were a few negative season-highs, with the Dash tying their high-water mark with 13 men left on base in each of the final two games of the Salem series. In addition, Salem’s 18-hit output Wednesday is tied for the most against the Dash staff this year.

  • With a series win at Carolina, the Dash would post their second winning record in a season series. Winston-Salem was 9-6 against Wilmington and had a losing record versus all other teams.

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.

-Brian

Game #134 & #135 Preview – Dash at Salem

UPDATE – 6:10 p.m.

Dash’s lineup for the regularly-scheduled game:

Landon Lassiter – LF
Michael Suiter – CF
Mason Robbins – RF
Gerson Montilla – 1B
Zack Collins – DH
Toby Thomas – 3B
Dante Flores – 2B
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Zach Thompson – RHP

Game #134/#135 – Away Game #64/#65
Winston-Salem Dash (27-36, 55-78) at Salem Red Sox (40-24, 77-56)
Thursday, September 1 – 5:30 p.m. 
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Salem forced extra innings with four in the home half of the ninth, and steady rain in the Roanoke Valley prompted the suspension of Wednesday’s middle match. The game is tied 7-7, with the top of the 11th about to begin. This game will be resumed at 5:30 p.m. from LewisGale Field, with the regularly-scheduled contest to start at 7:05 p.m. or 30 minutes after Wednesday’s game is over (whichever option comes later).

CURRENT LINEUP (suspended game):

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Dash catcher Brett Austin crushed a grand slam against Michael Kopech on Wednesday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash)

Landon Lassiter – LF
Michael Suiter – CF
Mason Robbins – RF
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Zack Collins – DH
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 2B
Brett Austin – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Tanner Banks – LHP
Brandon Quintero – RHP
Yelmison Peralta – RHP
Drew Hasler – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem stormed out of the gates with six runs in the first inning. Salem starter Michael Kopech, who boasted a 1.23 ERA entering the night, gave up all six runs thanks to five walks and a Brett Austin grand slam. The Dash added a run in the fourth to claim a 7-0 advantage, but Salem slowly chipped away with single tallies in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings. In the ninth, Jose Sermo launched a three-run homer with one out against Brandon Quintero. With two down and the bases empty, Yelmison Peralta surrendered consecutive two-strike doubles to Nick Longhi and Mike Meyers to force extra innings. Both teams went scoreless in the 10th before steady rain prompted a rain delay and, shortly thereafter, a suspension.
  • Austin’s grand slam was the Dash’s fourth of the season, and it was the former NC State star’s first as a professional. He is tied for the Carolina League lead in home runs among catchers (nine). With that one swing of the bat, Austin matched his career-high in RBIs, while he ousted Kopech out of the game with his first outing of more than two runs this year.
  • Should the Red Sox complete this seven-run comeback victory, Winston-Salem would match a Dash era record (2009-present) for the biggest lead relinquished in a loss. The Dash also wasted a seven-run cushion on June 7, 2015, at Lynchburg (9-7 Hillcats win in regulation).
  • When action resumes, catcher Zack Collins will be at the plate. He has already coaxed four free passes, which matches a single-game record since the nickname change. Landon Lassiter accomplished the feat on August 9, with the only other instance coming on July 4, 2015, when Trey Michalczewski walked four times in an extra-inning win over Frederick. If Collins walks again, he would become the first Winston hitter with five in a game since July 9, 2008, when Brandon Allen did it in the Warthogs’ final year.
  • Winston-Salem’s outfield duo of Nick Basto and Mason Robbins have earned spots on the Carolina League’s Year-End All-Star team, the league office announced Saturday. The Dash are one of three clubs with multiple players on the team, joining Lynchburg (six) and Salem (two). Bobby Bradley of Lynchburg earned the CL’s Most Valuable Player award, while Myrtle Beach’s Trevor Clifton took home the Pitcher of the Year honor. Hillcats skipper Mark Budzinski is the circuit’s Manager of the Year.
  • The key reason Basto and Robbins are Year-End All-Stars is batting average. Robbins leads the Carolina League with a .315 average, while Basto is third at .306. Fellow All-Star Aderlin Rodriguez, a slugger with Frederick, is second by just one point over Basto. If Robbins and Basto finish one-two, it would be the second time in five seasons that a Dash duo would accomplish this feat. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Finals.
  • Collins and six Winston-Salem alumni, including Matt Cooper and Connor Walsh from earlier this year, have earned spots in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, which begins in mid-October.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Wednesday’s contest will be broadcast live on wsdash.com/broadcast and the TuneIn Radio app. The Pregame Dash will begin at 5:15 p.m., with the first pitch set for 5:30 p.m. In Thursday’s regularly-scheduled game, Winston-Salem sends right-hander Zach Thompson (2-5, 6.00 ERA) to the bump against Salem southpaw Trey Ball (8-5, 3.77 ERA). Pregame coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 600 AM-WSJS, wsjs.com and the TuneIn Radio App.

-Joe

Game #134 Preview – Dash at Salem

Game #134 – Away Game #64
Winston-Salem Dash (27-36, 55-78) at Salem Red Sox (40-24, 77-56)
Wednesday, August 31 – 7:05 p.m. 
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Buoyed by 17 strikeouts, 11 of which came from starter Jordan Stephens, Winston-Salem bested the Salem Red Sox 4-1 in Tuesday’s series opener at LewisGale Field. The Dash go for their second road series victory of the season against the Red Sox.

STARTING LINEUP:

Stephens640_0623_3

Jordan Stephens struck out a career-high 11 batters on Tuesday night (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

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

DASH DOTS:

  • Stephens had never struck out double-digit foes in a single outing before his start last Wednesday at Frederick. The former Rice Owl now has two such efforts, during which he has 21 strikeouts in just 10.0 innings. After whiffing seven of the final nine he encountered at Frederick, Stephens ripped off seven strikeouts in his first 10 battles on Tuesday night (a combined 14 strikeouts over 19 batters faced).
  • Therefore, Stephens pushed his strikeout lead to 18 on second-place Trevor Clifton of Myrtle Beach, who fanned seven in a quality start for the Pelicans on Tuesday. Stephens is not only atop the Carolina League with his 147 strikeouts (tied for 15th in Minor League Baseball), but he is second to Clifton (2.72) in earned run average with a 3.57 mark. Stephens’ 136.0 innings of work also place him fourth on the circuit.
  • Winston-Salem’s previous high-water mark for strikeouts in a single game was 16, which took place on Opening Day. In that game, the Dash downed Lynchburg 14-6 in 13 innings. Winston fell just two strikeouts shy of the Dash-era record (2009-present) for punchouts in a nine-inning game (July 30, 2014, vs. Frederick).
  • Thanks to Tuesday’s win, the Dash clinched a winning record at Salem for 2016. Winston is 6-3 against the Red Sox in the Roanoke Valley. However, Salem had a huge advantage in the meetings at BB&T Ballpark. The Red Sox won 12 of the 15 games that took place in the Triad, including a pair of sweeps (four games from April 14-17 and a rain-condensed three-game set from August 20-21).

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Wednesday’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 #133 Preview – Dash at Salem

Game #133 – Away Game #63
Winston-Salem Dash (26-36, 54-78) at Salem Red Sox (40-23, 77-55)
Tuesday, August 30 – 7:05 p.m. 
LewisGale Field (Salem, Va.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

The Dash blasted the Carolina Mudcats 15-2 in their final home game of the season on Sunday at BB&T Ballpark. Winston-Salem banged out 17 hits and scored in five innings, including 10 runs from the sixth to the eighth frames. Eight of the Dash’s nine starters had at least one hit, while all 14 of the club’s RBIs came from four men.

STARTING LINEUP:

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After Sunday’s outing, Drew Hasler completed his season without allowing a run in 15.2 innings at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Michael Suiter – CF
Mason Robbins – RF
Gerson Montilla – 1B
Zack Collins – C
Toby Thomas – 3B
Marcus Davis – DH
Dante Flores – 2B
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Jordan Stephens – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • During Sunday’s affair, Daniel Gonzalez and Michael Suiter set new career-highs with four apiece, while both Dante Flores and Cleuluis Rondon registered three. On the bump, Robinson Leyer set a new season-high with seven strong innings, during which he whiffed eight, while Drew Hasler finished the contest with two scoreless innings.
  • The Dash had lost 11 of their last 12 games, the club’s worst such stretch of the season, before Sunday’s annihilation. Winston-Salem matched a season-high for margin of victory (18-5 win at Wilmington on July 1). Before this game, the Dash had scored just 35 runs in their previous 12 contests (2.9 per game).
  • Winston-Salem finished off its toughest season in the BB&T Ballpark era with an emphatic win. The Dash finished the seventh season at the downtown facility with a 31-39 mark, the club’s worst home mark since moving from Ernie Shore Field. The Dash’s only other losing record at BB&T Ballpark came in 2014 (34-35).
  • With a season-ending seven-game road trip on the horizon, the Dash turn to Jordan Stephens, the only member of the club’s Opening Day rotation to remain with the club. All four others have advanced to Double-A Birmingham, though Stephens has had an outstanding season. The White Sox fifth-round pick last year, Stephens paces the Carolina League with 136 strikeouts, while his 3.71 ERA is second amongst qualifiers. In his last outing Wednesday, Stephens logged a career-high 10 strikeouts at Frederick.
  • Sunday marked the 94th time that both Nick Basto and Mason Robbins played in the same game for the Dash. Only five times has an opposing team held both men hitless in the same game. This is a big reason why Basto has never owned an overall average below .305 at the High-A level, while Robbins’ mark has been north of .300 every day since July 16.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Tuesday’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 #132 Preview – Dash vs. Carolina

Game #132 – Home Game #70
Winston-Salem Dash (25-36, 53-78) vs. Carolina Mudcats (18-43, 47-84)
Sunday, August 28 – 2:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Winston-Salem took a 4-1 lead into the eighth inning, but Carolina evened the contest with three in the eighth and claimed the lead for good on a Gerson Montilla fielding error in the ninth for a 5-4 triumph on Saturday at BB&T Ballpark.  The Dash and Mudcats will square off on Sunday in what will be the final home contest for Winston-Salem this season.

STARTING LINEUP:

Valerio640_0715_1

Kelvis Valerio tied a career-high with seven innings on Saturday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Michael Suiter – CF
Dante Flores – 2B
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – LF
Zack Collins – DH
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 3B
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Robinson Leyer – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash have lost 11 of their last 12 games, the club’s worst such stretch of the season. During this span, Myrtle Beach has more than doubled its advantage on Winston-Salem in the Southern Division’s second half standings (7.0 to 15.0). The Pelicans officially clinched a playoff spot, and eliminated the Dash in the process, on Wednesday. In its last 11 losses, Winston has only amassed 26 runs (2.4 per game), while the opposition has scored 66 times (6.0 per game).
  • Winston-Salem’s outfield duo of Nick Basto and Mason Robbins have earned spots on the Carolina League’s Year-End All-Star team, the league office announced Saturday. The Dash are one of three clubs with multiple players on the team, joining Lynchburg (six) and Salem (two). Bobby Bradley of Lynchburg earned the CL’s Most Valuable Player award, while Myrtle Beach’s Trevor Clifton took home the Pitcher of the Year honor. Hillcats skipper Mark Budzinski is the circuit’s Manager of the Year.
  • Basto is third in on-base (.386), fifth in slugging (.482), tied for eighth in home runs (12) and tied for ninth in runs. Robbins is in the top 10 on the circuit in several categories, too: at-bats (473, third), total bases (207, fifth), doubles (31, tied for sixth) and slugging (.438, 10th).
  • The key reason Basto and Robbins are Year-End All-Stars is batting average. Robbins leads the Carolina League with a .315 average, while Basto is second at .307. Fellow All-Star Aderlin Rodriguez (.305) a slugger with Frederick, is the only other Carolina League qualifier with an average above .300. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • Sunday marks the 94th time that both Basto and Robbins are playing in the same game for the Dash. Only five times has an opposing team held both men hitless in the same game. This is a big reason why Basto has never owned an overall average below .305 at the High-A level, while Robbins’ mark has been north of .300 every day since July 16. Robbins also registered his team-leading 43rd multi-hit game Saturday (2-for-5).
  • Even though the Dash’s home slate ends on Sunday, the season will continue for one more week. Following an off day on Monday, Winston-Salem embarks on a week-long road trip. The Dash will invade Salem from Tuesday through Thursday before heading to Carolina for a four-game set to conclude the season. The Dash’s 30-39 home record is the worst in the seven-year BB&T Ballpark era, with the only other previous losing record coming in 2014 (34-35).

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 1:45 p.m., with the first pitch set for 2 p.m.

-Joe

Game #130 Preview – Dash vs. Carolina

Game #130 – Home Game #68
Winston-Salem Dash (25-34, 53-76) vs. Carolina Mudcats (16-43, 45-84)
Friday, August 26 – 7:00 p.m. 
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Frederick plated seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to rally for a 12-7 win over Winston-Salem in Thursday night’s rubber match at NYMEO Field. The Dash begin their final home series of the season on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Carolina Mudcats, the Braves’ High-A club.

STARTING LINEUP:

Montilla640_0704_2

Gerson Montilla drove in five runs on Thursday, one shy of his career high (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Landon Lassiter – LF
Michael Suiter – CF
Mason Robbins – RF
Nick Basto – DH
Gerson Montilla – 3B
Marcus Davis – 1B
Toby Thomas – 2B
Daniel Gonzalez – C
Cleuluis Rondon – SS
Zach Thompson – RHP

DASH DOTS:

  • The Dash scored all but one of their seven runs on Thursday thanks to the long ball. Gerson Montilla leveled a grand slam in the first frame, marking the Dash’s second four-run homer of the year (Mason Robbins, July 19 vs. Myrtle Beach). Then, in the fourth, Michael Suiter and Dante Flores went back-to-back against Keys right-hander Franderlin Romero, the third such instance of the season. It marked the first time Winston-Salem clubbed consecutive home runs since Nick Basto, Marcus Davis and Telvin Nash hit three straight on July 27, which also came against Romero.
  • Montilla’s grand slam was a big part of his five-RBI performance on Thursday. The only other five-RBI showing by a Winston-Salem hitter also came from Montilla, who accomplished the feat as part of a cycle on April 22 at Salem. Montilla paces all Dash hitters with 70 RBIs. Three others (Davis, Basto and Robbins) have at least 58.
  • Due to their loss and Myrtle Beach’s victory at Carolina on Wednesday night, the Dash were officially eliminated from the postseason picture. This marks just the fourth time in the Dash era (2009-present) that Winston-Salem will not suit up in the Carolina League playoffs. The Pelicans will meet first-half champion Salem in the best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series.
  • The Dash boast the two best qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though he is mired in a 4-for-27 slump, Robbins paces the circuit with a .314 average. Basto stands second at .309, though he is also limping a bit as of late (1-for-14 in his last four games). The next-closest competitor is Frederick’s Aderlin Rodriguez, who has a .304 average. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • Friday begins the Dash’s final home series of the 2016 season. No matter what the result is of this three-game set with Carolina, Winston-Salem will record its worst home record since moving to BB&T Ballpark in 2010 (currently 30-37). The Dash’s only other losing season at home came in 2014, when the club was 34-35. The Dash’s 37 home losses are tied for the most in the Carolina League with Wilmington.
  • Two White Sox affiliates have a chance to clinch a postseason spot. Triple-A Charlotte has won five in a row to claim a half-game lead on the Gwinnett Braves in the tremendously competitive South Division within the International League. Rookie-level Great Falls has rattled off six wins in its last seven games to claim a two-game edge in the second half. The Voyagers have reached the Pioneer League postseason in eight of the last nine seasons.

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

Specialized coach helped Collins take game to next level

In Zack Collins’ High-A debut on July 15, he went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer at BB&T Ballpark. It marked the beginning of another step in his whirlwind baseball career, which has been on warp speed over the last few months.

A few weeks earlier, before the White Sox drafted him 10th overall, Collins had a University of Miami logo on his chest while competing in the College World Series. While with the Hurricanes this season, he hit .363 with a team-leading 16 home runs, 59 RBIs and 78 walks. Two years before, the ACC named him the Freshman of the Year, as he ranked near the top of the league in many offensive categories.

Up until his junior year at Miami, Collins’ name in a lineup primarily represented explosive offensive numbers. His sophomore year, he played 66 of the 67 games, but only caught half of them (32). He was the designated hitter the rest of the time.

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Dash catcher Zack Collins turned himself into a first-round pick after his junior season with Miami (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images).

Only a year later, Collins became the first Miami baseball player to win the Johnny Bench Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate catcher.

Enter Norberto Lopez, the volunteer assistant the Hurricanes hired before Collins’ third year to specifically assist the future White Sox draft pick and other Miami catchers.

“I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in now without him,” Collins said. “[The Miami coaching staff] told me they were going to look for a good catching coach for me because that was pretty much my main problem–catching.”

•••

Collins played shortstop and third base in high school. No one put him behind the plate until he suggested it himself.

“I was the kid who kicked around the dirt at shortstop,” Collins said. “I wanted to be in the action.”

Growing up, Collins’ dad taught him most of what he knows about hitting, but catching was new territory. He had never been involved with a catching coach until Lopez, who would become his first influential catching instructor.

“Anybody can hit ground balls to someone and tell them to field the ball right,” Collins said. “Catching is totally different.”

Lopez brought three years of professional catching experience in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization, as well as 10 years of coaching.

This was the issue in Miami’s search for a catching instructor: find a coach with the experience to help Collins who would also accept an unpaid volunteer position, the only spot available on the staff.

“It was tough for Miami because most [volunteer assistants] are right out of college, and they are not going to come in and tell another college player what to do because they don’t want to ruin anybody,” Collins said.

Lopez was with the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, when Miami offered him the job. He had family in Miami and wanted to move back. He enters his second season with the Hurricanes this fall.

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Miami’s catching coach Norberto Lopez was tasked with job to help Collins improve behind the plate.

He was the “veteran catching coach” who became “by far one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Collins said.

Lopez motivated the man known for his offensive exploits to find success behind the plate. He instituted specific time for catchers at practice, which did not exist before Lopez’s arrival, an idea that allowed Collins to spend time on his craft.

“Catching is a position where you have to be pushed a lot because it’s pretty much a grind every day,” Collins said. “It’s catching bullpens every day and stuff like that. When you do all that stuff, you’re not really working on anything.”

Collins’ junior year at Miami, he caught 59 games, a much higher number than his previous two collegiate seasons. He still speaks with Lopez while with the Dash. When news of Collins’ trip to the disabled list broke earlier this season, his former catching coach called within a half hour.

“It’s not because of what he taught me but because he was all about creating a friendship, something that’s not going to be ‘I’m going to be your coach for one year and that’s it.’ I’ll go visit him with his kids,” Collins said.

-Jackie

Game #129 Preview – Dash at Frederick

Game #129– Away Game #62
Winston-Salem Dash (25-33, 53-75) at Frederick Keys (28-30, 64-64)
Thursday, August 25 – 7:00 p.m. 
NYMEO Field (Frederick, Md.)

GAME BACKGROUND:

Despite a 10-strikeout performance from Jordan Stephens, Winston-Salem dropped the middle match of its three-game series at Frederick, 2-0 the final from NYMEO Field. Stephens permitted a two-run blast off the bat of Aderlin Rodriguez in the first inning before cruising through five, during which he whiffed a career-high 10 Keys, including seven of the final nine he encountered. These two teams meet for the final time in 2016 in Thursday night’s rubber match.

STARTING LINEUP:

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Jordan Stephens logged a career-high 10 strikeouts on Wednesday (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

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

DASH DOTS:

  • Because of the Dash’s loss at Frederick and Myrtle Beach’s 2-1, 10-inning victory at Carolina, the Pelicans eliminated Winston-Salem from the postseason conversation on Wednesday night. This marks just the fourth time in the Dash era (2009-present) that Winston-Salem will not suit up in the Carolina League playoffs. The Pelicans will meet first-half champion Salem in the best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series, which begins Wednesday, September 7.
  • For the first time this season, a Winston-Salem pitcher not named Matt Cooper registered a double-digit strikeout performance. Cooper, who led the Minors in strikeouts after his final start with the Dash on June 13, struck out 12 on May 27 at Potomac and followed that up with 11 punchouts on June 2 at home against Carolina. Otherwise, the Dash had not seen a double-digit strikeout showing since Yency Almonte whiffed 12 on August 30, 2015, against Frederick.
  • Stephens had been close to a 10-strikeout effort, as he had nine on both June 15 at Wilmington and July 4 vs. Myrtle Beach. The former Rice University star leads the CL with 136 strikeouts, 14 more than second-place Trevor Clifton of Myrtle Beach. Stephens is also second to Clifton (2.87) in earned run average at 3.71.
  • The Dash boast the two best qualified hitters in the Carolina League. Even though he is mired in a 3-for-22 slump, Mason Robbins paces the circuit with a .315 average. Nick Basto stands second at .309, though he is also limping a bit as of late (0-for-11 in his last three games). The next-closest competitor Frederick’s Rodriguez, who has a .301 average. If Robbins and Basto maintain their hold on the top two spots, it would be the second time in five years that a Dash duo would finish one-two in batting average. Carlos Sanchez and Dan Black finished with .315 marks in 2012, the last year the Dash reached the Mills Cup Championship Series.
  • Following Thursday’s finale in Maryland, the Dash will return to BB&T Ballpark for their final three home games of 2016. Winston-Salem will welcome the Carolina Mudcats, the Braves’ High-A club, for a three-game set that begins on Friday. The Dash claimed all three clashes with Carolina during the Mudcats’ last visit to the Triad from August 9-11.
  • When the Dash head back home, they will try to finish the BB&T Ballpark slate strongly after an uncharacteristically tough year at the downtown facility. Winston-Salem will record its worst home record since moving to BB&T Ballpark in 2010. The Dash’s only other losing season at home came in 2014, when the club was 34-35. The Dash’s 37 home losses are tied for the most in the Carolina League with Wilmington.

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 Dash will begin at 6:45 p.m, with the first pitch at 7:00 p.m.