Minor League Roundup - 4/8

Ramirez fanned nine in 4.2 innings

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans opened the 2011 campaign with a victory behind a 16-strikeout performance from the pitching staff and a 3-for-3 night by third baseman Mike Olt. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of Friday's minor league action.

AAA: Round Rock 4 – Iowa 6
L - Tucker (0-1)
HR - Chavez (1), Deeds (1)
0-2, 2.0 GB


Left fielder Endy Chavez is nearly two years removed from knee surgery, and he finally looks to be healthy. The 33-year-old veteran continued his fast start on Friday, falling a double short of the cycle. He was 3-for-4 with a single, a triple, and a solo home run that traveled more than 407 feet to left-center field.

Righty Eric Hurley is also coming off surgery. Friday's contest marked his first regular-season start since he faced the Oakland Athletics on July 27, 2008.

The 25-year-old Hurley pitched well in the no-decision, yielding two runs over five innings. He scattered six hits, walked one, and struck out seven.

Former Marlins prospect Ryan Tucker got saddled with the loss after he allowed three runs in 1.1 innings. Tucker, who threw just 15 of his 31 pitches for strikes, also balked in a run.

Sidearming righty Cody Eppley struck out two in a scoreless top of the ninth inning.

Right fielder Doug Deeds belted a solo home run to right field for his lone hit in three trips. Chris Davis (1/3, 2B) and Craig Gentry (1/4, 2B) had one double apiece.

Player of the Game: LF Endy Chavez
AB R H 2B HR RBI BB K AVG
4 2 3 0 1 1 0 1 .556




AA: Frisco 7 – Springfield 6 (10 innings)
W - Hamburger (1-0)
HR - Bianucci (3), Mendonca (1)
2-0, 0.0 GU


Although Martin Perez looked to be making plenty of progress in spring training, he looked like his 2010 version in Friday's outing. The 20-year-old southpaw needed 71 pitches (43 strikes) to complete three innings. He gave up two runs on five hits, walking two and striking out three.

Despite the early deficit created by Perez and reliever Ben Snyder, the ‘Riders stormed back with five unanswered runs over the last four innings to earn the extra-inning victory.

The bullpen eventually settled in, with Adalberto Flores, Mike Perconte, and Mark Hamburger combining to retire the final 14 hitters of the game.

Perconte, who was recently signed after being released by the Cubs, turned in an excellent Double-A and Rangers organization debut. He hurled two perfect frames on 17 pitches, recording a pair of strikeouts.

Hamburger earned the victory with a 10-pitch (eight strikes) 10th inning that included two punchouts.

DH and cleanup man Mike Bianucci helped keep Frisco in the game with his solo home run––his third in two Double-A games––in the fourth inning. He also added a single and a walk.

Third baseman Tom Mendonca got the ‘Riders even closer with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Mendonca, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the contest, laid down the game-winning sacrifice bunt in the 10th, scoring Joey Butler on a throwing error.

Two-hole hitting centerfielder Engel Beltre went 1-for-4 with his second triple in as many contests along with a hit-by pitch.

Jonathan Greene (2/4, 2B) and David Paisano (1/4, 2B) both doubled while Guilder Rodriguez (3/4) and Jose Felix (2/4) singled multiple times.

Player of the Game: 3B Tom Mendonca
AB R H 2B HR RBI BB K AVG
3 1 1 0 1 2 0 0 .286




A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – Wilmington 1
W - Tufts (1-0)
SV - Kelly (1)
1-0, 0.0 GU


Neil Ramirez followed up an impressive spring training performance with a lights-out High-A debut in Friday's season opener for the Pelicans.

Ramirez, 21, tossed 4.2 shutout frames. He gave up one hit, walked one, and fanned nine. The Virginia Beach native retired 11 consecutive batters at one point, and he fanned more than half (nine of 17) of the overall hitters he faced.

In fact, four Myrtle Beach pitchers combined to strike out 16 batters in the nine-inning contest. A quartet of Single-A Hickory hurlers did the same on Thursday.

Veteran righty Tyler Tufts fanned four hitters in 1.1 scoreless frames. Lefty Robbie Ross, who is scheduled to start in a few days, followed by punching out two in a perfect seventh inning.

Ryan Kelly, who came over from Oakland in the Guillermo Moscoso trade, picked up the save after giving up a run on two hits in two frames.

The Pelicans' pitching staff may be talented, but the lineup is also loaded with intriguing prospects. The offense tallied three runs on 13 hits in the opener.

Third baseman Mike Olt, hitting in the cleanup spot, was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run batted in. He also committed a throwing error.

Olt had the club's only extra-base hit of the evening.

Centerfielder Jared Hoying had three plate appearances, and he singled twice, walked once, and stole a base.

Shortstop Leury Garcia, who was 1-for-4 with a HBP, stole two bases. The speedy 20-year-old had 47 stolen bases (in 56 attempts) in only 89 games at Single-A Hickory last season.

Chris McGuiness (1/4, BB), Jared Prince (1/3, HBP), Travis Adair (2/4) and Santiago Chirino (2/4) all reached base multiple times.

Adair and Chirino, both second basemen, may have to split some playing time this season. In Friday's game, Adair played as the DH while Chirino worked at second.

Although it was the season opener for both teams, the clubs saw plenty of each other in spring training, as the Rangers and Royals share a complex in Surprise, Ariz.

Player of the Game: RHP Neil Ramirez
IP H R ER BB K HR ERA
4.2 1 0 0 1 9 0 0.00




A: Hickory 6 – Asheville 4
W - Rojas (1-0)
HR - Profar (2)
2-0, 0.0 GU


Shortstop Jurickson Profar is better known for his advanced hit tool than his power, but he has flashed some pop in the first two games of the season.

The 18-year-old Curacao native went 2-for-3 with a double, a two-run homer, and a base on balls. Profar homered from the left side on Friday after going deep as a right-handed hitter in Thursday's season opener.

Sinkerballing righty Randol Rojas turned in a successful full-season debut, yielding just one run in five innings and earning the victory. He allowed four singles while walking two and striking out two. He also induced six groundouts against two flyouts.

Left-hander Kevin Johnson worked around a pair of walks for a hitless, scoreless frame. The 6-foot-5 University of Cincinnati product struck out one.

Zach Osborne, another righty that works off a sinking fastball, gave up a run but fanned five over two innings. He didn't issue a walk.

After going 0-for-4 with three punchouts in the opener, third baseman Christian Villanueva rebounded with a 3-for-4 performance that included two doubles.

Second baseman Odubel Herrera (2/5, 2B) and first baseman Jhonny Gomez (2/4, 2B) both singled once and doubled once.

Jake Skole had one single in three official at-bats for the second consecutive night. He was also hit by a pitch.

Player of the Game: SS Jurickson Profar
AB R H 2B HR RBI BB K AVG
3 1 2 1 1 3 1 1 .500




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