Snappers Snap Streak
Sometimes it takes a special performance for a team to end a long losing streak. The Beloit Snappers got that performance from outfielder Shawn Duinkerk on Friday night. Thanks in large part to Duinkerk's heroics, the Snappers put an end to their seven-game losing streak.
The native of Aruba is one of the more interesting stories in the Oakland A's system right now. Signed before the 2011 season, Duinkerk spent one season in the Dominican Summer League before coming Stateside in 2012. From 2012 through 2014, Duinkerk remained stuck in Arizona, playing three seasons in the Arizona Rookie League. He hit only .167 in the AZL last season and he was a longshot to avoid extended spring training this year.
Duinkerk arrived this spring in the best physical condition of his career and with a seemingly better understanding of the game and of how to use his physical tools. He had a very impressive spring and earned his way onto the Low-A Beloit Opening Day roster. Still just 20-years-old, Duinkerk is off to a strong start with Beloit and is an early candidate to be a breakout prospect in 2015.
Duinkerk had arguably the best game of his career on Friday. The outfielder went 4-for-4 with his first homerun since 2012. He also had two outfield assists. The only blemishes on his night were an error and a caught stealing. Duinkerk is now batting .345/.387/.517 in eight games for the Snappers.
Beloit needed all of the offense it could muster to break their long losing streak. Down 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth, the Snappers scored five times to earn the 9-6 victory. The first six Snappers of the inning reached base, with four runs scoring on two, two-run doubles by Trent Gilbert and Argenis Raga.
Gilbert had three hits and two of those hits were doubles. Brett Vertigan raised his average to .387 with three hits, and Yairo Munoz and Max Kuhn each had two-hit nights. Raga had only one hit, but he drove-in three.
Heath Fillmyer got the start and he allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings. He allowed six hits and six walks and he struck-out five. Corey Miller allowed two runs in two innings, but Trevor Bayless kept the game within reach by throwing a scoreless eighth and was the winning pitcher when the Snappers scored five in the bottom half of the inning. Bayless secured the win with a scoreless ninth, as well. Bayless has yet to allow a hit this season in four innings. He has eight strike-outs.
Sounds Open New Stadium with a Bang
First Tennessee Park had to work a little overtime on its opening night. In their first game at their new stadium, the Nashville Sounds won on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 10th.
Burns continues to be a force for the Sounds in the lead-off spot. He was the only Nashville hitter to post a multi-hit night. He went 2-for-5 and he is now batting .421. Muncy had the game-winning knock and walked twice earlier in the game. He has reached base in every game he has played in this season. Muncy has 11 walks in nine games. Jason Pridie had the other two RBI for Nashville on Friday.
Arnold Leon got the start for the Sounds. He threw only four innings, but he had a solid outing. Leon allowed five hits and two runs. He walked one and struck-out seven. Leon threw 87 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Relievers Pat Venditte, Chad Smith and Ryan Cook took the game from there, combining on six shut-out innings. Venditte threw three innings, allowing just a hit and a walk. He struck-out two. Smith followed with two innings of shutout ball, allowing a hit and a walk. He struck-out three. Cook earned the win with a scoreless 10th. He retired the side in order, striking out one and throwing 10 of 14 pitches for strikes.
Stranded Runners Leave Midland High-and-Dry
The Midland offense combined for 10 hits and six walks, but they could only push across two runs thanks to a 2-for-13 performance with runners in scoring position. The RockHounds dropped the second game of their roadtrip by a score of 6-2 to the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Chad Oberacker had three hits and a walk to raise his average to .524. He has a seven-game hitting streak to start the season. Ryon Healy and Carson Blair each had two-hit games. Healy is batting .379 for the RockHounds. His hot start is a strong contrast to his April with Stockton last season when he couldn't buy a hit and finished the month with a .185 average.
Chad Pinder hit his third homerun of the season in the loss. He is tied with Matt Olson for the team lead. Olson had a double and a walk in four official at-bats. He has eight walks and eight strike-outs in eight games this season. Pinder also had a walk in the game. He is up to six through eight games this season. Pinder walked just 22 times in 94 games last year.
Tanner Peters had a rough start for Midland. In three innings, he allowed five runs on six hits and four walks. Nate Long relieved Peters in the fourth and threw three shutout innings. Long isn't in the starting rotation right now, but he has seven innings pitched over three outings to start the year. Long has yet to allow a run. He has allowed just two hits and three walks and he has nine strike-outs.
Ports Shutout by Visalia
The Stockton offense was quiet on Friday, falling, 3-0, to the Visalia Oaks in the second game of their homestand. The Ports managed just five hits, with two of those coming from Tyler Marincov. B.J. Boyd, Nick Rickles and Branden Cogswell combined on the other three hits.
Kyle Finnegan had a solid start, but he didn't get any help from his offense. In six innings, he allowed three runs on eight hits. Finnegan didn't walk a batter and he struck-out five. The two big blows against him were two solo homeruns in the fourth inning by Stewart Ijames and Michael Perez.