Midland Takes Roadtrip Opener
Midland's first roadtrip of the season got off to a good start when the RockHounds beat the Northwest Arkansas Naturals by a score of 8-3. Second baseman Colin Walsh had three hits and a walk to lead a potent Midland offensive attack.
Including last season, Walsh has appeared in 32 games with the RockHounds since joining the A's organization early last year. The Stanford alum has reached base in all 32 of those games. This season, Walsh is off to a red-hot start. In seven games, Walsh is 10-for-24 (.417 BA) with four doubles and seven walks. His OPS is 1132.
Walsh had plenty of help on Thursday. Catcher Bruce Maxwell broke an early-season slump with three hits, while Ryon Healy and Chad Pinder each had two hits and a walk. Matt Olson hit his third homerun of the season and he walked twice. Olson has a .727 SLG and a .448 OBP in seven games.
Starter Chris Jensen wasn't quite as sharp as usual, but he was still effective enough to get the win. For only the seventh time since joining the A's organization before last season, Jensen failed to go at least six innings. He went 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. Jensen struck-out four and walked one. He did allow a homerun, only his fifth allowed over the past two years.
Reliever Kris Hall came on with one-on and two-out in the sixth. He immediately walked former A's prospect Dusty Coleman, but then recovered to retire Santiago Nessy on a groundout. Hall then worked a scoreless seventh. He struck-out one. Ryan Dull pitched the final two innings. He didn't allow a base-runner and he struck-out two.
Coleman went 1-for-3 with a walk against his old club. He is batting .375 on the year for the Naturals.
The RockHounds moved into a second-place tie with a 3-4 record.
Stockton Wins Home Opener
Despite arriving back in Stockton at 7am and needing to report to the stadium at 1pm, the Stockton Ports shook off the cobwebs and won their home opener, 4-3, over the Visalia Oaks.
Michael Soto hit a key two-run homerun and he drove-in three to lead the way for Stockton. Soto is batting .393 and has hit safely in all but one game thus far this year. Tyler Marincov had a double and the Ports' other RBI and Palo Alto native B.J. Boyd added two hits in his first professional game in Northern California..
Right-hander Tim Atherton got the start and he was impressive. In five innings, Atherton allowed two runs on four hits. Only one run was earned. He struck-out five and walked one and he allowed a homerun. Joel Seddon took over for Atherton in the sixth and he allowed a run on three hits in 2.1 innings. He struck-out one, walked none and earned the win.
Reliever Sam Bragg came on in relief of Seddon with a run in and runners on first and second and one out in the eighth. Bragg struck-out the first batter he faced and then ended the threat by inducing a flyout to right. He worked around a lead-off walk in the ninth to earn his first save of the season. Bragg struck-out two.
Sounds' Late Rally Falls Short
On the verge of being shutout, the Nashville Sounds rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth but fell one-run short of a complete comeback. The Sounds lost the series finale to the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 3-2.
Nashville managed just eight hits in the game and six of those eight hits came from the top three batters in the line-up -- Billy Burns (3), Joey Wendle (1) and Max Muncy (2). Sixth-place hitter Tyler Ladendorf had the other two hits for the Sounds.
Burns added three singles and raised his average to .424. He has nine hits in his last 13 at-bats. Ladendorf, who was on the A's Opening Day roster along with Burns, has five hits in 13 at-bats since being sent down to Triple-A. He also has a walk.
The Sounds couldn't string together any runs against Dodgers' prospect Zach Lee (six innings) and reliever Ryan Buchter (two innings). They broke through against former MLB closer Sergio Santos in the ninth, scoring two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning before another former MLB closer -- David Aardsma -- recorded the final out.
Ryan Verdugo and Angel Castro combined to pitch all nine innings for the Sounds. Verdugo got the start and allowed one run on four hits in 3.1 innings. The lefty struck-out two and walked one. Castro allowed two runs on four hits in 4.2 innings in relief of Verdugo. The right-hander struck-out four, didn't walk anyone and allowed a homerun to Kyle Jensen.
Nashville returns home to open their new stadium with a 4-4 record.
Snappers' Slide Continues
The Beloit Snappers' losing streak is now at seven after they dropped both ends of their "double-header" with Quad Cities on Thursday. The Snappers lost a game that was suspended on Wednesday with the score tied 2-2. The final score of "Wednesday's" game was 6-4. Then Beloit dropped Game Two, 5-1.
Game One resumed in the bottom of the fifth with Argenis Raga at the plate and Edwin Diaz at second base. Raga bunted Diaz over to third. Yairo Munoz would drive Raga in with an RBI groundout, giving Beloit a 3-2 lead.
The lead wouldn't last. Kevin Johnson replaced Brett Graves, who pitched all five innings that were played on Wednesday. Johnson allowed a game-tying double after Ryan Bottger reached on a fielding error by Trent Gilbert. The River Bandits then took the lead on a two-out double by Bryan Muniz.
The River Bandits added two more runs in the top of the seventh when Derek Fisher hit a homer off Johnson. The Snappers would claw back to within two runs with a run in the ninth, but couldn't complete the comeback.
Johnson was charged with two earned runs in four innings. He allowed just three hits, but all three went for extra-bases. The right-hander struck-out four and walked one.
Game Two was a scheduled seven-inning affair. Beloit was down early and never recovered. Jordan Schwartz got the start. He allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings. The right-hander struck-out three and walked three. Carlos Navas pitched the final two innings, allowing a run on one hit and one walk. He struck-out two.
Beloit managed just five hits and no hitter had more than one. Sandber Pimentel doubled in both games. He has reached base safely in all seven games he has played during his first week of full-season affiliated baseball.
The Snappers head into Friday's game with a 1-7 record.