THUNDER BAY, Ontario -- The Brainerd Blue Thunder were poised to take their first lead of the North Division second half standings but Thunder Bay pitcher Blake Brannon had other ideas.
The Border Cats, behind Brannon's solid pitching in which he gave up just one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and five walks in 6 2/3 innings, beat Brainerd 3-1 Sunday to split the two-game series.
Thunder Bay 3, Blue Thunder 1
Saturday's game: Blue Thunder 7, Thunder Bay 4
The key: The Blue Thunder split the two-game series with the Border Cats and remain just 1.5 games out of first place in the North Division second half season standings.
Records: Brainerd 9-6 (23-23), Thunder Bay 10-4 (30-18).
Next: Brainerd hosts Duluth Huskies, 7:05 p.m. Monday at Mills Field.
Brainerd found itself just a half game behind the Border Cats for first place in the second half standings after Saturday's 7-4 win.
But Brannon was just too much for Brainerd. Dan Quinn had two of the Blue Thunder's three hits, including a double, and drove in Brennan Garr for the lone run. Newly acquired Allen Smith had the other hit.
In Saturday's game the Blue Thunder piled up 15 hits in the game with 10 coming against Thunder Bay starting pitcher Morgan Carlile, who boasted a 5-1 record entering the game. But Carlile gave up six runs in five innings as Brainerd came away with the 7-4 win.
Chad Weiss and Markus Freiske led the Blue Thunder offense as both went 3-for-4. Weiss drove in two runs and scored a run while Freiske scored twice. Chris Klabo, Brennan Garr and Joe Tautges all chipped in with two hits apiece. Tautges also stole three bases.
Brainerd starting pitcher Luke Baughman went five innings, giving up all four runs on seven hits and two walks to pick up his third win of the season.
Kyle Mura pitched three innings of relief and gave up just one hit and two walks while Garr pitched the ninth, giving up one and striking out one to earn his first save of the season.
Brainerd 100 000 000 -- 1 3 2
Thunder Bay 101 001 00X -- 3 9 2
Brainerd -- Kai Tuomi, Gerard Breslin (6) and Lars Davis. Thunder Bay -- Blake Brannon, Ben King (7), Shawn Williams (9) and Robbie Johns. WP -- Brannon (7-3). LP -- Tuomi (2-3). Save -- Shawn Williams (13).
2B -- B-Dan Quinn; TB-Johns, Jonathan Diaz. RBI -- B-Quinn; TB-J.R. Voyles, Matt Mangini, Williams. SB -- TB-J.T. Jones, Jeff Fontaine, Mangini. DP -- B 1, TB 1. LOB -- B 7, TB 7. Time -- 2:30. Attendance: 908.
Brainerd 120 021 010 -- 7 15 1
Thunder Bay 201 010 000 -- 4 9 4
Brainerd -- Luke Baughman, Kyle Mura (6), Brennan Garr (9) and Dan Quinn. Thunder Bay -- Morgan Carlile, Andrew Koop (6), J. Dolske and J. WIlson. WP -- Baughman (3-2). LP -- Carlile (5-2). Save -- Garr (1).
2B -- B-Alex Bardeguez, Quinn, Rodney McMahon. RBI -- B-Bardeguez, Quinn, Mura, Chad Weiss 2; TB-J.R. Voyles, Jeff Fontaine, Wilson 2. SB -- B-Joe Tautges 3, Quinn; TB-Nate Price, Voyles, Matt Mangini, Jonathan Diaz. DP -- TB 2. LOB -- B 7, TB 10. Time 2:38. Attendance: 901.
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