Sugar Land Skeeters (81-45, 1-1) vs. Lancaster Barnstormers (74-52, 1-1)
RHP Konner Wade (8-6, 3.09 ERA) vs. RHP Brooks Hall (11-4, 4.93 ERA)
Friday, September 21st, 2018 • Constellation Field • 7:05 p.m. CT
GAME 2: The Skeeters evened the Freedom Division Championship Series at 1-1 on Wednesday night with a 3-0 victory at Clipper Magazine Stadium. James Russell threw seven scoreless innings, while allowing five hits and striking out five to no walks, to pick up the win. Matt Chavez put the Skeeters up 2-0 in the first inning with a two-out, two-run single. Anthony Giansanti added a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning as Jean Machi picked up the save with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning.
GAME 1: The Skeeters dropped Game 1 of the Freedom Division Championship Series by a score of 5-3 on Tuesday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Barnstormers left-hander, Nate Reed, carried a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings while Blake Gailen hit two home runs to help get Lancaster out to a 5-0 lead. The Skeeters fired back in the top of the ninth as Juan Silverio belted a three-run homer with nobody out in the inning. The Skeeters had the go-ahead run to the plate and tying run at first with two outs in the ninth but Lancaster right-hander Kevin Munson completed the save. Dallas Beeler took the loss for the Skeeters.
WHO'S HOT?: Through the first two games of the Freedom Division Championship Series, Anthony Giansanti has gone 4-for-8 (.500) with two runs, a double and an RBI. Derek Norris has gone 3-for-7 (.429) with a run, double and two walks and Juan Silverio has gone 2-for-8 (.250) with a run, home run and three RBIs.
WRECK THE HALLS: In two games against Lancaster right-hander Brooks Hall this season, Anthony Giansanti has gone 4-for-5 (.800) with a double, two home runs and six RBIs. Matt Chavez has gone 4-for-7 (.571) with an RBI in three games against Hall and Albert Cordero has gone 2-for-5 (.400) with a double and two RBIs in two games.
YOU WANT TO TALK PLAYOFFS?: The Skeeters are making their fourth trip to the postseason in the franchise's seven-year history. Their last trip to the playoffs came in 2016 when they went on to win the Atlantic League title, the lone league title in franchise history. The Skeeters are 10-9 in the postseason in franchise history. They enter the postseason after an 81-45 record, which was seven games ahead of the Barnstormers for the best record in the Atlantic League this season.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: The Skeeters won both the first-half and second-half Freedom Division titles this season, joining the 2013 Skeeters as the only other team in franchise history to win both titles They were the first two Freedom Division titles under first-year manager Pete Incaviglia. The Skeeters have won five Freedom Division title in franchise history: 2013 (first and second half), 2016 (second half), 2018 (first and second half).
VS. LANCASTER: The Skeeters went 11-8 against the Barnstormers in the regular season, going 8-3 at Constellation Field and 3-5 at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Skeeters hit .292/.370/.436 against the Barnstormers this year while the pitching staff owned a 3.62 ERA (159 IP), The Skeeters own a 1-4 all-time record against the Barnstormers in the postseason, with the only other meeting coming in the 2014 Freedom Division Championship Series. The Skeeters own a 67-69 all-time regular-season record against the Barnstormers.
LET'S STORM THE BARN: Anthony Giansanti hit .350 (23-for-64) with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 18 games against Lancaster this regular season. Matt Chavez hit .333 (25-for-75) with a homer and 13 RBIs in 19 games and Juan Silverio hit .320 (8-for-25) with three doubles and two RBIs in seven games.
BIG-LEAGUE CHOPS: The Skeeters have nine players on their 2018 postseason roster with Major League service time: RHP Dallas Beeler (CHC), RHP Jorge De Leon (HOU), RHP Jean Machi (SF, BOS, SEA), RHP Michael Mariot (KC, PHI), C Derek Norris (OAK, SD, TB), OF Denis Phipps (CIN), LHP Dan Runzler (SF, PIT), LHP James Russell (CHC, ATL, PHI), RHP Matt West (TEX, LAD) and RHP Alex Wimmers (MIN).
WHAT A YEAR: The Skeeters ended their season at 81-45, which was the second-best regular-season record in team history. The best record in Skeeters history came in 2013 (95-45) when the Skeeters set Atlantic League records in regular-season wins and winning percentage (.679). The Skeeters eclipsed 80 wins for just the second time in the franchise's seven-year history. Along with 2013, the Skeeters also reached 80 wins in 2014, but both of those 80-win campaigns came in 140-game regular seasons while there are just 126 games in the 2018 regular season.
RUSSELL THE MUSCLE: James Russell ended the regular season with a 2.36 ERA to clinch the Atlantic League ERA title. His 2.36 ERA is the lowest qualifying ERA in Skeeters history and he's also the first player in Skeeters history to win the league ERA title. David Pauley's 2.66 ERA in 2014 had previously served as the lowest single-season qualifying ERA in the franchise's seven-year history.
MATTer OF FACT: Skeeters first baseman Matt Chavez ended the 2018 regular season with a .320 batting average, which is the highest qualifying batting average to end a season in franchise history. Ricky Hague had previously held the record with a .311 average in 2016. Chavez also ended the regular season with 151 hits, which placed him in second in the Atlantic League. The 151 hits were a career high for Chavez, who's amidst his fifth professional season, and were fourth-most in a single season in Skeeters history.
RECORDS GALORE: The Skeeters set single-season team records in batting average (.273), on-base percentage (.349) and ERA (3.11). The team's previous records for batting average and on-base percentage came in 2016 (.267/.333) and the previous ERA record came in 2013 (3.20). The Skeeters ended the regular season leading the league in on-base percentage, which was the first time in team history that they led the league in on-base percentage. The Skeeters also led the league in ERA, which was fourth time in team history that they led the league in ERA (2018, 2017, 2014, 2013).