Oakland A's MLN: Do-Or-Die Time

This could be the last day of minor league baseball in the Oakland A's system in 2011, or it could be the next chapter in a couple of championship stories. All four of the A's affiliates involved in the post-season face elimination games on Friday night.

Sacramento Returns Home Facing Deficit

The River Cats breezed through the regular season but it has been tougher sledding during the post-season thus far against their rivals, the Reno Aces. Sacramento has dropped its first two games in Reno and now returns home having to win three straight to move onto the PCL Finals.

In Game Two, the River Cats couldn't mound much of an offensive effort versus Reno starter Barry Enright. Enright allowed one run on six hits and one walk in 6.2 innings of work. The one run came on Chris Carter's solo homerun in the sixth. It was Carter's second homer of this playoffs and his 12th in 23 career playoff games as a member of the A's organization.

Sacramento managed one run versus the Reno bullpen, coming on a Josh Donaldson solo homer in the eighth, but that was not enough to defeat Reno. The Aces scored four times in six innings versus Sacramento starter Tyson Ross and that was enough for Reno to move to a 2-0 game advantage in this best-of-five series.

Travis Banwart gets the call tonight in Sacramento to try to extend the River Cats' season in to the weekend.


Stockton Drops Tight Game; Series Moves To Game Three

Pitching ruled the evening in Modesto on Thursday, as the Nuts and Ports battled in a 2-1 Modesto win. The series will be decided tonight in a decisive Game Three.

The game was scoreless through the first seven innings, as Stockton starter Daniel Straily and Modesto starter Chad Bettis were brilliant. Straily didn't allow a run and he struck-out seven in six, three-hit innings. The Nuts broke through against reliever James Simmons, who allowed two runs (one earned) in the seventh.

Bettis tossed 6.2 scoreless innings, scattering six hits and three walks with nine strike-outs. Mitchell LeVier hit a solo homer in the eighth versus reliever Isaiah Froneberger, but that was all Stockton could muster versus the Nuts' bullpen.

Stockton right-hander Murphy Smith will take on Parker Frazier in the winner-takes-all Game Three tonight in Modesto.


Burlington Forces Decisive Game Three

Needing a win to extend their season, the Burlington Bees cruised to a 5-1 win over the Kane County Cougars on Thursday night. The Bees and Cougars will battle for the series on Friday night in Burlington.

Bees' starter Josh Bowman dominated the Cougars, limiting them to one run on two hits and no walks in six innings. He struck-out six. Any thoughts of the Cougars mounting a comeback versus the Bees' bullpen were squashed when 2011 seventh-round pick Blake Treinen tossed two scoreless frames. He struck-out four and didn't allow a hit. Zach Thornton finished off the game with a scoreless ninth.

On offense, A.J. Kirby-Jones led the Bees with three hits. Josh Whitaker scored twice and Beau Taylor had a double and a walk.

Burlington will turn to Jose Macias tonight, while the Cougars are countering with right-hander Jason Adam.


Vermont Drops Game Two Late, Heads To Game Three

Looking to end their series with a sweep, the Vermont Lake Monsters fell just short, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Auburn Doubledays. The two teams re-engage tonight in a decisive Game Three.

Auburn took a 2-0 lead over Brent Powers and the Lake Monsters in the second inning and the game remained 2-0 until the seventh, when Vermont mounted a game-tying rally. The Lake Monsters would give back the lead in the bottom of the seventh on a solo homer by Wilfri Pena and that was the difference in the game.

Powers pitched well, allowing only those two runs in 5.1 innings. He struck-out five and didn't walk a batter. Kurt Wunderlich was hung with the loss.

Dusty Robinson led the Lake Monsters with two hits in four at-bats. Sean Jamieson had a double and Bobby Crocker and B.A. Vollmuth each had RBIs for Vermont.

Lake Monsters' ace Seth Frankoff will battle Auburn righty Brian Dupra on Friday night in the winner-takes-all contest.


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