W - Richmond (2-1)
HR - Adduci (8), Butler (8), Beltre (3)
38-31, 1.0 GU
The Express jumped out to a big early lead on Friday and didn't look back, taking sole possession of first place over the RedHawks.
It's important to note that, although the other full-season levels determine postseason berths by playing two separate halves, the Triple-A leagues play a full regular season.
Round Rock touched up Oklahoma City starting pitcher Ross Seaton for 10 runs on 10 hits––including three home runs––in only five innings. He also walked six. OKC actually used a pair of position players on the mound to get through the final two innings––they both tossed scoreless ball.
Veteran Express starter Scott Richmond worked seven innings and allowed two runs in five hits. Throwing 60 of his 94 pitches for strikes, Richmond struck out three without issuing a walk.
At the plate, DH Joey Butler (2/4, 2B, HR, BB), CF Engel Beltre (2/5, HR), and 1B Jim Adduci (1/5, HR) all went deep against Seaton.
The 27-year-old Butler (.323/.409/.513) has been particularly hot of late, hitting safely in 12 of his last 13 contests. He has homered each of the last two nights.
Nine-hole hitting right fielder Jared Hoying, recently up from Double-A Frisco, doubled once and tripled once in five at-bats. The Express also got doubles from LF Aaron Cunningham (1/4, 2B, BB) and SS Yangervis Solarte (2/4, 2B, BB).
Since getting off to a slow start in April, the switch-hitting Solarte is batting .353/.391/.506 in 184 plate appearances.
Mike Olt went 0-for-3, striking out once and walking twice. Greg Miclat (1/3, 2 BB) and Robinson Chirinos (2/4, BB) both reached base three times.
Relievers Ryan Rodebaugh and Johan Yan each worked a 1-2-3 inning, finishing the game by inducing six consecutive groundouts.
L - Font (1-2)
HR - Telis (3)
37-30, 5.0 GB
Corpus Christi clinched the a first-half Texas League South Division championship at the RoughRiders' expense on Friday, knocking Frisco out of the first-half postseason race.
Although the ‘Riders are 37-30, they've been bested by a talented Corpus Christi club that currently stands at 42-25.
Despite the loss, Frisco got more strong pitching from sinkerballing righty Tyler Tufts (3.38 ERA/.284 BAA), who worked five shutout frames on 64 pitches. He gave up two hits and struck out four without walking a batter.
DH Tomas Telis (.259/.280/.364) provided one of Frisco's runs with his fifth-inning solo homer, his lone hit in five trips. Alex Buchholz (2/4, 2B, BB) singled, doubled, walked, and drove home the club's other run.
LF Teodoro Martinez raised his batting average to .277 with two singles in four at-bats, and he also added his 14th stolen base.
Rehabbing Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, making his final appearance before being activated, was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a free pass.
Brett Nicholas got the start behind the plate for the ‘Riders on Friday, just his sixth this season. Although the University of Missouri product was drafted by the Rangers as a catcher, he has played the vast majority of his time at first base over the last three years.
Reliever Justin Miller surrendered two runs in two innings. Lefty Jimmy Reyes then fanned four batters in two scoreless frames before Wilmer Font––who suffered the loss––gave up a solo home run in 1.2 innings.
The Hooks' game-winning solo homer came off the bat of Astros prospect Domingo Santana, his 13th of the season.
Font struck out four but fell to 1-2 on the year. He has the following stat-line through 22 appearances––27.2 ip, 12 h, 21 bb, 37 k.
W - Mendoza (1-1)
38-28, 2.0 GU
Myrtle Beach extended its winning streak to eight and reduced its first-half division-clinching magic number to one with Friday's victory over Carolina.
The Pelicans actually allowed a season-high 18 hits but limited the Mudcats to seven runs––16 of those 18 knocks were singles. Carolina stranded a whopping 16 runners on base.
Pelicans second baseman Rougned Odor (.283/.359/.447) led the offensive attack with a pair of triples in four at-bats. He was also hit by a pitch. The 19-year-old Venezuelan ranks third in the circuit with 19 doubles and is tied for third with four triples. His .447 slugging percentage is ninth in the pitcher-friendly circuit and leads the Pelicans.
Catcher Kellin Deglan (.210/.299/.438) went 2-for-3 with a triple, an HBP, and two RBI. Trever Adams (1/4, 2B, BB) added his 16th double.
Carolina's four pitchers combined to plunk six Myrtle Beach hitters on Friday.
Starting pitcher Alec Asher scattered nine hits over five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out three.
Although he was hung with a blown save, reliever Francisco Mendoza earned the victory after yielding two runs in an inning. After Mendoza allowed two runs in the top of the sixth, Myrtle Beach busted out for six runs to take the lead.
Randol Rojas then gave up a run in two innings, and Taylor Dennis permitted a run in the ninth inning to close the game.
L - Valdespina (1-1)
HR - Rua (20)
38-30, 1.0 GU
Although the Crawdads didn't win on Friday, Hagerstown's loss to Lakewood dropped Hickory's first-half magic number to one. Both the High-A Pelicans and Low-A Crawdads will have a chance to clinch a postseason berth on Saturday.
Hickory lost despite getting phenomenal work from starting pitcher C.J. Edwards (2.05 ERA/.174 BAA), who struck out a career-high 12 batters in just five innings. Edwards surrendered two runs––one earned––on two hits and a walk.
Through 13 starts this season, the 21-year-old righty has permitted 41 hits in 66 innings, walking 27 and fanning 86. His 86 punchouts currently rank third in the Sally League––behind Yankees prospect Rafael De Paula (96 in 64.1) and Giants prospect Martin Agosta (88 in 68.2).
Over his last three starts, Edwards has struck out 27 batters in 13.2 frames.
The Crawdads' bats were limited to just five hits in the game. Orioles prospect Josh Hader gave up two runs on one hit over the first 6.1 innings.
Second baseman Ryan Rua (.248/.361/.602) launched his 20th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the eighth. He was 1-for-3 with a walk.
Joey Gallo (1/4, HBP), Jorge Alfaro (1/3, BB), Nomar Mazara (1/4), and Ronald Guzman (1/4) had the team's other knocks.
Lewis Brinson walked once but whiffed in his other three appearances. Coming off a hot week, the 19-year-old Brinson has now gone hitless in his last six contests. During that span, he's 0-for-16 with five walks and 12 strikeouts.
Delmarva blew the game open by tagging hard-throwing reliever Jose Valdespina for four runs in one-third of an inning. He now has a 9.00 ERA on the year.
Jose Leclerc (0.2 IP) and Sam Stafford (1.2 IP) both kept the Shorebirds off the board. Stafford lowered his season ERA to 9.51.
L - Gonzalez (0-1)
0-1, 1.0 GB
In front of a season-opening crowd of 6,181 at Spokane's Avista Stadium, the Indians fell into an early 5-0 hole through three innings and weren't able to fight back.
Making his professional debut, Rangers first-round pick Alex Gonzalez was touched for three runs on five hits in 1.2 innings. He walked one and struck out one while showcasing a 90-92 mph fastball and slider-changeup combination.
Gonzalez was making his first appearance since May 22, when he defeated Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference Tournament.
Spokane wasn't able to get much going at the plate, scoring only four runs on four hits.
Speedy centerfielder Chris Garia, who was 1-for-4 with a triple, knocked in three of the Indians' runs. Third baseman Janluis Castro (1/4, 2B) and shortstop Alberto Triunfel (1/3, 2B, BB) both doubled once.
Saquan Johnson, another speedster in the Spokane outfield, tripled once in three at-bats.
After Gonzalez exited the game, tall right-hander Kyle Castro allowed two runs in three innings. He gave up two hits, walked four, and struck out five.
Ryne Slack then tossed 2.1 scoreless frames, giving up two hits and striking out a pair. John Straka, making his professional debut, surrendered a solo home run for the only damage against him in two innings.
W - Payano (1-0)
11-1, 4.0 GU
The Dominican Rangers moved to 11-1 this season after thrashing the DSL Mets2. The Rangers plated four in the first followed by an eight-run outburst in the fifth.
Leading the offense was shortstop Luis Terrero, who went 4-for-5 with a double, two triples, a walk, and five runs batted in. He raised his batting average to .333.
Outfielder Jesus Martinez (1/3, 3B, 3 BB) tripled once and walked three times. Carlos Arroyo went 1-for-4 with a double and two free passes. Catcher Kevin Mendoza, who was 2-for-3, also added a two-bagger.
Not to be outdone, first baseman Elio Castillo reached base in all four of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3––all singles––with a walk and two RBI.
Second baseman Brallan Perez singled twice in four at-bats, which actually lowered his batting average to .548.
The Rangers drew 10 walks on Friday and struck out only two times.
They also pitched well, as starting pitcher Pedro Payano tossed five innings of two-hit shutout ball. He struck out five and walked two.
Richelson Pena (1 IP) and Christopher Garcia (1 IP) both worked one scoreless inning out of the bullpen. Pena was particularly impressive, fanning two in a perfect inning.
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