BriSox punish E-Twins

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff

  Charlie Haeger didn't like the Elizabethton Twins last Thursday.
  In his first appearance for the Bristol White Sox, the right-handed pitcher known for his knuckleball yielded Elizabethton's first win of the season.
  The Michigan native got even Monday night, only allowing three hits and striking out three in seven scoreless innings, while his teammates found the gaps en route to a 9-3 Bristol victory.
  The Sox pounded out 15 hits, with the assistance of an Elizabethton error to move around the bases.
  "We had some balls drop in for us early and we were able to get a nice little cushion going," said Bristol manager Jerry Hairston. "The guys made the defensive plays and things worked out for us tonight. We got some hits and runs to go with them."
  Elizabethton gave up seven runs in the first three innings.
  Things visibly began to go downhill early with Bristol's four-run first inning effort.
  "They got some serious bloops on us," said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith. "Our pitch selection was okay, but our location was not good. If we get ahead of the hitter, we have to be able to throw a kill shot in there.
  "They hit the ball hard too, don't get me wrong, but you've got to make quality pitches."
  "Good pitchers are like a school of circling sharks around a wounded fish, they come in for the kill when they get ahead," he said. "It really puts the hitter on the defensive."
  Metairie, Louisiana's Jonathan Martinez took the loss against Haeger after giving up five hits and six runs in the first two innings.
  Dennis Medina and Matthew Fox controlled the middle of the game, only allowing a combined three runs before Kyle Aselton held Bristol hitless in their final two offensive stanzas.
  Nick Lemon closed things out for Bristol, but fell short of competing a shutout, as each of the Twins' runs came in the final inning.
  Haeger had defensive help during his seven frames, including two double plays. He only walked one during his appearance.
  Tarrence Patterson, Javier Sanchez and Trevor Plouffe each got a hit off him, but the other Elizabethton players didn't share the luck.
  "That knuckleball guy, we knocked him around pretty good at their place the other night, but he was mixing in more fast balls and the knuckleball was better," Smith said. "When you're looking for (the knuckleball), it makes his fast ball gain a foot, which is about ten miles-per-hour. He kept us honest and it was a tough night all around."
  For Bristol, Javier Castillo and Brandon Allen used shallow-fielded singles to drive a run across the plate in the first inning before a Francisco Hernandez hit off the right-field wall scored the other two first frame runs.
  Evan Tartaglia had an RBI double, while Castillo provided a sacrificed fly for runs in the second inning.
  Manuel Rodriguez lit up Medina with a 430-foot shot over the left-center wall to make it 7-0 in the third.
  A Brandon Johnson RBI triple in the fifth and an RBI single from Tartaglia in the seventh wound out the scoring for the White Sox.
  Only Tim Lahey, via walk, got on base for the Twins between the fifth and eighth innings. The team finally got going offensively in the final inning.
  Patrick Ortiz moved two bases off a throwing error to kick off things in the ninth. Deacon Burns walked before a David Winfree single loaded the bases.
  Sanchez prevented the shutout with a 6-3 sacrificed grounder to score Ortiz and Johnny Woodard came through with an RBI single for Burns.
  Winfree swiped the plate after a wild pitch before a pop fly ended the night.
  For the night, Johnson led the BriSox with three hits, while five others had two hits apiece. Only 12-year veteran Mike Gulan was hitless for the visiting club.
  Elizabethton is still trying to work through its pitching numbers. It may take awhile for the Twins staff to determine roles for the 16, soon to be 17, pitchers.
  "One thing that stands out is that we have so many pitchers, 16 pitchers, and another guy is coming in on Thursday," Smith added.
"We're still trying to decide what the roles are going to be for our pitchers. We're running these guys out here and identify how they're going to be the most affective and get the most out of their ability."
  "They'll be fine. They'll be a lot better at the end of the season than they are now."
  Minnesota Twins Vice President and General Manger Terry Ryan will visit Riverside Stadium on Thursday with a special delivery for the Twins.
  Minnesota's 22nd pick in the Major League Draft, University of Minnesota left-handed pitcher Glen Perkins (6-0, 190 lb.), signed with the club Monday and will land in town this week.
  Perkins, 21, was 9-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 16 games with 21 walks and 113 strikeouts for the University of Minnesota during his sophomore year.
   He was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and earned second-team Collegiate Baseball News All-American honors.
  Perkins was 15th in the nation in wins in 2003, earning first team All-Big Ten, first team Freshman All-America by Baseball America and second team All-American honors by Collegiate Baseball News during his initial collegiate campaign.
  He was the third Golden Gopher to win Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors after setting the school record in strikeouts with 117.
  It was estimated that he would receive anywhere between a $1.4 or 1.425 million dollar signing bonus according to an article on the official Minnesota web site.
  (Information courtesy of Minnesota Twins)