W - Brazoban (3-0)
HR - Nelson (9)
28-19, 0.5 GU
The Express withstood a late Aces rally that included three ninth-inning runs to earn the four-game series split.
Starting pitcher Neil Ramirez (3.74 ERA/.231 BAA) needed 96 pitches (58 strikes) to get through four innings, including a 39-pitch fourth. He worked around plenty of trouble, giving up two runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out three.
Designated hitter Brad Nelson (.313/.411/.625 in May) belted his third home run in his last four contests––and his ninth of the season––on Thursday. The 28-year-old also singled and walked in four trips.
Left fielder Matt Kata, who has raised his average to .288 after a slow start, was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Second baseman Luis Cruz singled three times in four at-bats.
Omar Quintanilla (1/3, 2 BB) and Chris Davis (1/3, BB) also reached multiple times.
Round Rock got excellent work from four different relievers in the game, as Yhency Brazoban, Justin Miller, Zach Phillips, and Mark Hamburger all hurled one scoreless frame piece.
Miller and Hamburger were particularly impressive in their innings, as both hurlers threw eight of nine pitches for strikes and struck out a pair.
Despite featuring a consistent 97-98 mph fastball and throwing 22 of 29 pitches for strikes, closer Pedro Strop was knocked around for three runs on five hits in one inning. He wiggled out of the jam by getting a game-ending groundout with the tying run on second.
W - Perez (2-0)
SV - Castillo (2)
HR - Diaz (1)
24-22, 7.0 GB
Left-hander Martin Perez (2.01 ERA/.222 BAA) scattered five hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings on Thursday afternoon. He threw 96 pitches and struck out five batters.
Over his last four starts, the 20-year-old has posted a dominant line with the RoughRiders––26.2 ip, 18 h, 2 er, 11 bb, 25 k. The walks have remained an issue at times, but he is missing bats (53 strikeouts in 53.2 innings), keeping the ball in the park (one home run allowed), and isn't getting hit.
Perez has also worked at least six innings in five of his last six outings. He had just three six-plus inning starts out of 23 tries in 2010.
Catcher Robinzon Diaz, playing in his first game since coming down from Triple-A Round Rock, added a solo home run for his only hit in four plate appearances.
Leadoff man Leonys Martin (.315/.393/.537) doubled, was hit by a pitch, and laid down a sacrifice bunt in four trips.
Davis Stoneburner (2/4, 2B), Mike Bianucci (1/3, 2B, BB) and Jonathan Greene (2/3, 2B) also added two-baggers.
After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, third baseman Tom Mendonca saw his batting average drop under .300––to .299––for the first time since April 18. He's 0-for-11 with six punchouts in his last three contests.
Relievers Ben Snyder and Fabio Castillo helped slam the door on the Naturals, hurling one perfect inning apiece on 16 total pitches.
W - Yan (2-2)
SV - Osborne (2)
HR - Olt (8)
27-19, 2.0 GU
Between the Pelicans' Robbie Ross and Salem starting pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller, the first 21 batters of Thursday's game were retired. Neither side had a baserunner until Jared Hoying led off the bottom of the fourth with a base on balls.
Although Ross (2.88 ERA/.257 BAA) took a perfect game into the fifth inning, he allowed runs in his last three frames. Overall, the southpaw gave up four runs in 6.1 innings. He yielded five hits (all singles), walked three, and punched out a season-high seven.
Third baseman Mike Olt (.286/.398/.506) tied the game with his solo home run––his eighth of the year––in the bottom of the eighth. He walked and struck out twice in his other three plate appearances.
The eventual game-winning run scored on a Jared Prince infield single, plating Mitch Hilligoss. Both Prince and Hilligoss were 1-for-3 with a base on balls.
Centerfielder Ryan Strausborger was 1-for-4 with a double and his 15th stolen base. Leury Garcia (1/3, 2B) also doubled.
Sinkerballing righty relievers Johan Yan (1.2 IP) and Zach Osborne (1 IP) kept the Red Sox off the board to finish off the game. Osborne protected the lead and earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
W - Killian (4-1)
SV - Rodebaugh (4)
HR - Profar (5), Richmond (5), Martinez (1)
26-20, 2.0 GB
Thursday's game between the Crawdads and RiverDogs was slightly shortened by rain––the game was called with one out in the top of the ninth inning.
Making his second ‘official' professional start, young right-hander Luke Jackson allowed three hits and walked four in 3.1 innings, but he managed to keep Charleston off the board. Jackson struck out five.
Right fielder Josh Richmond (.287/.344/.506 in May) has begun showing off a bit more of his raw power of late. On Thursday, he was 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk. Richmond now has four doubles and three round-trippers in his last eight games.
Leadoff hitter Jurickson Profar (.274/.401/.532) boosted his already team-leading slugging percentage by launching his fifth homer of the year for his only hit of the night.
And Teodoro Martinez (.277/.312/.338), who entered the night with just one extra-base hit in his last 27 games played, launched his first homer of the season and the second of his three-year professional career.
Richmond led off the fourth inning with his home run, Profar started the sixth, and Martinez's long ball opened the seventh.
Tomas Telis was 0-for-3, but he worked another walk––his third in three games. The 19-year-old now has 10 free passes and 12 strikeouts for the year.
Jake Skole singled twice and knocked home two runs, raising his average to .252.
Left-hander Jimmy Reyes permitted two runs––one earned––in two innings out of the bullpen. The Elon product allowed three hits, walked one, and fanned four.
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