Due to time constraints today, I won't write an extended piece on Cody Buckel, but I will link his scouting report and video from late in spring training. The scouting report hasn't changed since then––it just appears that his command has gotten sharper with each recent outing.
Link 1: Buckel refining deep repertoire (March 27)
Link 2: Video: Cody Buckel Intrasquad start (March 30)
L - Ramirez (0-1)
2-6, 5.0 GB
With Thursday's loss in Omaha, the Express were swept in a series for the first time since 2010. Five of Round Rock's losses in the current six-game losing streak have been by one run.
Starting pitcher Neil Ramirez threw 77 pitches in five innings, allowing four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four.
On the other side, Storm Chasers starter Nate Adcock limited the Round Rock bats to just a single hit in six shutout innings.
Third baseman Tom Mendonca (1/3, 2B) and catcher Dusty Brown (1/3, 2B) each doubled for both of their club's extra-base hits in the game. They also drew one walk apiece.
First baseman Mike Bianucci, hitting in the three hole, had two singles and two RBI in five at-bats. The slugger now has 12 runs batted in through his first eight Triple-A contests.
After going 0-for-3 with a walk and a sacrifice fly, outfielder Julio Borbon is 6-for-28 (.214) with a double, a triple, three walks, and three strikeouts in his first seven games this season.
Left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman posted his second consecutive strong outing, as he retired all four batters he faced––getting one strikeout––to finish the game.
In his first two appearances this season, Kirkman coughed up five runs on seven hits and three walks in one total inning. But he's worked 2.2 scoreless innings in his last two games, giving up one hit without walking a batter.
L - de los Santos (0-2)
4-3, 0.0 GU
Facing the Frisco RoughRiders for the second time within a week, Springfield starter John Gast posted almost a mirror image of his first start. In both games, the southpaw tossed seven innings of one-run ball, striking out seven.
On the flip side, Frisco starter Miguel de los Santos had some command issues in his outing. The left-hander threw only 49 of his 84 pitches for strikes, giving up four runs in 4.1 innings. He yielded seven hits, walked three, and struck out three.
Wilfredo Boscan was excellent in long relief, helping to keep the RoughRiders in the game. The Venezuelan righty hurled 3.2 shutout frames, as he allowed two hits and struck out four without walking a batter.
Boscan threw only 35 pitches––including 24 strikes––in his 3.2 frames.
At the plate, switch-hitting second baseman Leury Garcia was 2-for-3 with his second triple in six games. Third baseman Mike Olt, who was 1-for-5, added his first triple. He also struck out and committed and throwing error.
Ryan Strausborger (1/3) and Jared Prince (1/4) had the club's only other hits of the game. Top prospect Jurickson Profar was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk.
Hard-throwing reliever Fabio Castillo gave up a run in one inning, which included two hits and a walk. He threw 28 pitches in the frame.
W - Rowen (1-0)
3-3, 1.0 GB
Myrtle Beach righties Cody Buckel and Ben Rowen were the unquestioned stars of the day in the Rangers' minor league system, as they teamed up for a three-hit shutout of the Potomac Nationals.
Making his second High-A start, Buckel struck out nine of the 18 batters he faced in six scoreless innings. The 19-year-old prospect gave up two hits without issuing a walk.
Buckel has the following line in his first two starts this season––10 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 3 bb, 16 k.
After the Nationals' Michael Taylor led off the game with a double to right field, he was erased while attempting to steal third base. Adrian Sanchez, who had an infield single in the third, was gunned down by Vin DiFazio trying to steal second. Buckel faced the minimum in six frames, and he also fanned six consecutive hitters at one point.
Not to be outdone, submarining righty Ben Rowen finished the game by striking out four and hurling three innings of one-hit, shutout ball to earn the victory. Rowen, who struck out the side in the eighth, retired the last seven hitters he faced.
Taylor would be the only P-Nats hitter to get past first base all night, and he was the game's first batter.
The game appeared to be headed for extra innings in a scoreless tie, though, until Nationals left fielder (and former University of Texas slugger) Kevin Keyes committed an error with a runner on second base, allowing Jared Hoying to score the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Corner infielders Brett Nicholas (2/3, 2B) and Christian Villanueva (2/3, 2B, BB) both singled and doubled. Josh Richmond (1/3) and Jared Hoying (1/4) had the other knocks.
W - Mavare (1-1)
SV - G. Williams (1)
HR - Cone (2)
6-2, 0.0 GU
The Crawdads improved to 6-2 on the young season with a three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning during Thursday's home opener.
Tall left-hander Victor Payano held Asheville to two runs on two hits in five innings, walking three and striking out two.
Although the 19-year-old Payano was inconsistent last season with short-season Spokane, he was one of the Rangers' top performers at fall instructional league last year and continued to pitch well during spring training. He has allowed just four hits in 10 innings over his first two starts of the 2012 campaign.
Reliever Arlett Mavare, coming off an uncharacteristically rough outing, righted the ship by striking out three batters in three scoreless innings to earn the victory.
Left-hander Greg Williams worked around two hits in the ninth inning to earn his first save. He also struck out a pair.
Cleanup-hitting right fielder Zach Cone put Hickory on the board early with his solo home run––his second of the season––in the second inning. It would be his only hit of the game and Hickory's only extra base hit of the game.
Prospects Rougned Odor (2/3, BB) and Jordan Akins (2/4) both singled twice. Luis Sardinas (1/3, BB) and Drew Robinson (1/3, BB) each singled and walked.
Sardinas has been aggressive on the base paths early in the season, and he notched his sixth stolen base on Thursday. Through six games, the speedy switch-hitting shortstop is 9-for-21 (.429) with three walks, four strikeouts, and six steals in seven attempts.
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