Alonzo Gonzalez (Glendale Community College, 2012) Lansing Lugnuts pitcher: The 6-foot-5 left-handed specialist was coming off consecutive strong outings for his club, a class-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
On Monday, Gonzalez tossed a season-high four innings in a rare start (only his second this season) and allowed one earned run on two hits with four strikeouts and received a no-decision in Lansing’s eventual 2-1 loss to the visiting Clinton LumberKings.
Four days earlier, Gonzalez was in his normal role as a reliever and tossed 2 2/3 scoreless inning of work versus Kane County in allowing only one hit and fanning two. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, the Lugnuts were on the losing side of a 3-0 result.
Both consecutive strong efforts helped lower Gonzalez’s earned-run average after a disastrous appearance July 11 when Gonzalez surrendered three earned runs on four hits in only 2/3 of an inning in Lansing’s 5-4 loss to Lake County.
While Gonzalez wasn’t tagged with the defeat, his ERA in that appearance was 40.50.
By comparison, Gonzalez had allowed five earned runs in 21innings in 10 appearances dating back to June 11.
For the season, the former Glendale Community College standout owns a 1-1 record with a 5.98 ERA and 60 strikeouts through 55 innings.
As for Lansing, the Lugnuts are 48-54 and 13 1/2 games behind the league-leading West Michigan Stars.
Ryan Sherriff (Glendale Community College, 2011) pitcher, Springfield Cardinals: It’s been three consecutive strong outings for the 6-1 left-handed reliever, whose Cardinals are a double-A Texas League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sherriff hasn’t allowed a run in his last three outings and in four of the previous five.
Sherriff was thrust into a big moment Thursday after his Cardinals has just taken a 4-3 lead over the host Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
With the tying run on first and two outs, Sherriff was inserted for starter Mike Mayers and induced an inning-ending foul out to catcher Cody Stanley to end the threat.
Sherriff then struck out the first batter in the bottom of the seventh before being replaced by fellow reliever Jeremy Berg in what ended up being a 4-3 victory for Springfield.
Previous to Thursday, Sherriff also hurled a scoreless 2/3 of inning versus Tulsa on Tuesday and again blanked Northwest Arkansas for an inning Saturday.
This season, Sherriff’s 2-5 record is not indicative of his solid work as he boasts a 2.59 ERA with a better than 2-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (35 to 17). Sherriff leads the Cardinals in appearances (33) this year and has tossed the most innings (48) of any reliever through Friday.
Springfield is 48-57 this season and trails first-place Tulsa by 6 1/2 games.
Fernando Valenzuela Jr. (St. Francis High, 2000) Leones de Yucatan first baseman: The one-time St. Francis High standout has put together a strong four-game stretch over the last week for the triple-A Mexican League club.
Penciled in as a designated hitter Wednesday, Valenzuela went two for three with a double, walk, RBI and run scored in the Leones’ 5-4 defeat at Oaxaca.
Valenzuela helped his squad momentarily tie Wednesday’s contest at 3 when he connected on a ground-rule double in the top of the sixth that plated teammate Cyle Hankerd. Valenzuela Jr. then became the go-ahead run when he scored on a double from Adan Amezcua, which gave the Leones their final advantage of 4-3.
The previous day, Valenzuela went one for four with a single in Yucatan’s 9-5 setback to Oaxaca.
It wasn’t all losses for Yucatan, though, as Valenzuela Jr. went two for four with two RBI in the Leones’ 5-2 victory at Veracruz on Sunday.
The day before that, Valenzuela was one for three in a Veracruz 4-3 victory.
Over those four games, Valenzuela was six for 14 (.429 batting average) with a double and three RBI.
Through Friday, Valenzuela is batting .305 with 83 hits, seven homers, 43 RBI, 24 runs and 14 doubles.
Yucatan is 40-53 and 12 1/2 games behind league-leading Puebla with a magic number of 13 before being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.