Before we get into the 2nd round recap, let it be known that my sources have said the Trenton front office was disappointed to hear about the Pierce re-signing, as he would have been at or near the top of their free-agent shopping list for season 10.
With that out of the way, the LCS matchups have been set. Here's a recap of Round 2:
The #1 seeded Austin City Limits have taken out the defending champion #4 Salt Lake City Shakers in 4 games to move on to the NLCS. Salt Lake City took game 1 in Austin, but a Keith Buckley 10th innings homer in game 2 gave Austin a split. Austin won games 3 and 4 behind strong starting pitching performances (Miguel Castilla in Game 3 and Vladimir Bibby in Game 4 combined to give up 2 runs in 15 innings) to take the series 3 games to 1.
Their opponent in the NLCS will be the #2 Atlanta Bandits out of the NL East. Atlanta took down an always tough Fargo team. Sammy Pierce outdueled Kazuhiro Whang in Game 1 to stake the Dirtbags to a 1-0 lead, but Atlanta took the next 3, holding the Dirtbags to a total of 5 runs. After Javier Henriquez was a hard luck loser in game 2 and the bullpen wasted a good start by Orber Marin in game 3, Fargo seemed to be completely disheartened in game 4 and was blown out 11-2.
#1 Louisville seems determined to shake the "Best team never to have won a title" moniker; their quest continues after knocking off the 2-time AL champion #5 Seattle Killer Whales. The turning point may have come in Game 1, as Seattle closer Quilvio Sanchez was brought in the 8th inning to get Marty Lane out of a 2-out jam, but Albert Martin and Orlando Franco both singled, Franco's single driving in 2 to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 lead that Buddy Titan didn't blow. That moment loomed larger after Seattle's well-earned Game 2 victory; Louisville could have been down 0-2. After Seattle was held to 2 runs on a combined 6 hits in games 3 and 4 (Lance Stevens and Hipolito Maradona were dominant), Louisville marched on to the ALCS for the first time in 5 seasons with a 3-1 series victory.
#2 Monterrey and #3 St. Louis was the only series to go the distance, and it came with many twists and turns. St. Louis appeared to be cruising to a Game 1 victory, as they were up 7-4 in the 8th innings before Monterrey struck for 5 runs, highlighted by a Nate Cox 3-run homer, to win 9-7. In game 2, Monterrey had a one run lead in the 8th before St. Louis turned the tables with 2 runs to win 6-5 and split in Monterrey. After Monterrey won Game 3 with little drama, they had a chance to close out Game 4 and the series, but Wilton Cornelius and Tony Corey had 2-out singles to win and go back to Monterrey. In Game 5, Monterrey scored the first 2 runs, but St. Louis scored the last 7 to win the series. They will move on to face Louisville in the ALCS.