W - Hankins (3-0)
SV - Brazoban (1)
11-4, 2.5 GU
The Express improved to 6-1 on their road trip against the division-rival Zephyrs and RedHawks.
Starting pitcher Derek Hankins earned his third win in as many appearances, working seven strong innings. He limited OKC to three runs while scattering seven hits, walking one, and striking out four.
The 27-year-old entered the season with only 1.2 innings of Triple-A experience, but he is off to a fine start with Round Rock this year. In 17 innings, Hankins has yielded 16 hits and walked three.
The offense banged out 15 hits, including 12 in 5.2 innings against RedHawks starting pitcher Fernando Nieve.
Third baseman Brian Barden (.410/.457/.436) set the tone with three singles, a walk, and two RBI in five trips to the plate.
Catcher Kevin Cash is better known for his glove than his bat, but he was 2-for-5 with a pair of two-baggers. Joey Butler (2/5, 2B) and Craig Gentry (1/5, 2B) also doubled.
Left fielder Doug Deeds was 2-for-4 with his first triple of the season. Deeds had eight triples in 125 contests at Triple-A Reno (Arizona) last season.
And, of course, Esteban German raised his average to .376 with two more singles in five trips. The Dominican Republic native now has multiple hits in five of his last six games.
Veteran reliever Yhency Brazoban closed it out with two hitless, scoreless frames, walking one and striking out four. A former big league closer, Brazoban notched his first save of the season. He had a career-high 21 saves with the Dodgers in '05.
L - Brigham (1-1)
5-8, 3.0 GB
Between Jake Brigham and Ross Seaton, Thursday's contest in Frisco was a matchup of two hard-throwing righty starters.
Seaton won out, working seven strong innings. The 23-year-old Brigham dropped to 1-1 on the year after he permitted four runs (three earned) in five innings. Brigham gave up eight hits––including three doubles and a homer––while walking zero and striking out four.
Through three Double-A starts, Brigham has permitted 18 hits in 15 innings. But he is also throwing strikes (five walks) and missing some bats (15 strikeouts). While the early numbers aren't eye-popping, he is holding his own after jumping from Single-A Hickory.
Relievers Mark Hamburger and Mike Perconte both worked two scoreless innings on 27 pitches. Perconte was particularly impressive, giving up one hit, walking zero, and fanning three.
The RoughRiders offense was limited to only six singles in the game. Four of them came from third baseman Tom Mendonca (2/4) and left fielder Jonathan Greene (2/4).
Mendonca is 15-for-47 (.319) with four homers during his first 12 Double-A games, but he has also whiffed 16 times.
L - Loux (1-1)
9-4, 0.5 GB
Myrtle Beach had its six-game winning streak snapped in the first game of the Pelicans' series at Kinston on Thursday.
Starting pitcher Barret Loux worked through trouble early on, stranding four men in scoring position through four scoreless innings. He surrendered three consecutive hits to begin the fifth, however, and all three came around to score.
Overall, the Houston native yielded three runs (two earned) in four-plus innings. He gave up five hits (all singles) while walking two and striking out five.
After Loux exited the game, the Indians did some damage against reliever Andrew Doyle to total a five-run fifth inning. Doyle went two innings, giving up three runs and five hits.
While the Myrtle Beach offense has been hot in recent games, they were limited to only two runs on five hits in Thursday's contest.
Speedy centerfielder Ryan Strausborger (.321/.350/.446) led the way by going 2-for-3 with a double––his fifth––and a base on balls. Chris McGuiness (1/3, BB), Travis Adair (1/4), and Andres James (1/3) had the team's other knocks.
One day after he drew three walks, cleanup hitter Mike Olt took the hat trick. The slugging third baseman was 0-for-3 with three punchouts. He brought home a run with a sacrifice fly.
Righty relief pitcher Trevor Hurley worked around a single and a walk to post two shutout frames at the end of the game. The 23-year-old has tossed scoreless ball in his last three appearances, totaling five innings.
W - Grimm (1-0)
SV - Osborne (1)
HR - Telis (3)
The Crawdads trailed 5-2 through three innings, but the offense battled back to plate five runs in the top of the fourth.
Switch-hitter Tomas Telis did plenty of damage once again, going 2-for-4 with a solo home run, his third of the season. Through 14 contests, the 19-year-old is already just one off his career best in round-trippers.
On the mound, starting pitcher Justin Grimm picked up his first professional victory––and did his best to keep the box score full.
Grimm worked six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on four hits and five walks. He struck out five. Grimm also allowed two home runs and plunked a batter.
One of Grimm's home runs allowed came from 2010 first overall selection Bryce Harper, who was 1-for-2 with a walk in the game. He is batting third and playing right field for the Suns.
Nine-hole hitting shortstop Jonathan Roof, who is off to a fast start, was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, two RBI, and two stolen bases.
Andrew Clark (1/2, 2 BB) and Christian Villanueva (2/3) also reached multiple times.
Hickory did plenty of running around the bases in the seven-inning contest, attempting seven steals.
Sinkerballing righty Zach Osborne (2.00 ERA/.188 BAA in nine innings) tossed a perfect seventh––getting one strikeout––for his second professional save.
W - Rojas (3-0)
SV - Van Meter (1)
11-4, 0.5 GU
The Crawdads got a five-run rally in the fourth inning of game one, and Hagerstown did the exact same to Hickory in the nightcap. But this time, Hickory took home the late-inning victory by pushing across three in the final two frames.
The win puts Hickory in sole possession of first place in the Sally League's Northern Division for the first time this season.
Starter Matt Thompson entered the 2011 season as one of minor league baseball's best strike throwers. He posted a 3.3 percent walk rate with Spokane in '09 and a 4.0 percent rate in Hickory last season.
Thompson issued an astonishing six walks (plus two wild pitches) in 3.1 frames on Thursday. Although he gave up just one infield single and struck out five, the walks helped lead to five runs, four of which were earned.
The Metroplex native had a particularly rough fourth inning––walk, wild pitch, walk, strikeout, walk, wild pitch, walk. And then he was lifted for Randol Rojas.
Rojas would go 2.2 innings, giving up one unearned run. He worked around three singles and two walks, helping himself out with a pair of pickoffs at first base.
The offense, led by the middle infielders, was good enough to pick Thompson up.
Second baseman Odubel Herrera (.346/.404/.481) was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and two stolen bases. The 19-year-old has swiped seven in nine attempts over 14 games so far.
Shortstop Edwin Garcia, playing in his first official game after starting the year in extended spring training, also went 2-for-3 with a double and a run batted in.
The only Hickory starter without a hit in game two was catcher Tomas Telis. After a strong first game, the backstop was 0-for-4 at the plate with two passed balls behind it.
Joe Van Meter (2.45 ERA/.167 BAA) struck out two in a 1-2-3 seventh inning to get the save.
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