Oberacker Continues to Rake for Midland
After a frustrating 2014 season, Chad Oberacker has come out of the gate red-hot in 2015 for the Midland RockHounds. The outfielder/first baseman added three more hits on Tuesday, including his second homerun of the season, to pace Midland's 8-3 win over the Arkansas Travelers. Through 11 games, Oberacker is 15-for-34 with three doubles, one triple, two homers, six walks, 10 RBI and two stolen bases.
Oberacker had some help on offense from his RockHounds' mates. Colin Walsh, Bruce Maxwell and Jaycob Brugman all had three-hit games, and the RockHounds compiled 13 hits and four walks in the game. Two of Walsh's hits were doubles. He now has six on the season and he is batting .333. Maxwell came into the game with only five hits on the season, but his three base-hits raised his average from .179 to .242. He does have more walks (7) than strike-outs (5) this year. Brugman's three hits give him six in the past two days. He entered Monday with only two hits on the year. From Sunday to the end of Tuesday, Brugman's average has gone from .107 to .222.
Starter Chris Jensen had another outstanding outing for Midland. He went six innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits. Jensen struck-out a season-high seven and walked three. He had seven strike-outs total over his first two starts. Jensen is 3-0 on the year with a 3.06 ERA.
The Midland bullpen was nearly flawless in relief of Jensen. Ryan Doolittle, Seth Frankoff and Tucker Healy combined to throw three scoreless innings. Frankoff struck-out the side. It is the second time in a row Frankoff has struck-out all three batters he has faced. He has 11 strike-outs and no walks in 5.2 innings this season.
Wendle Homers, but Nashville Falls
Joey Wendle hit the first homerun in First Tennessee Park history, but it wasn't enough as the Nashville Sounds fell to the Oklahoma City Dodgers by a score of 6-2. The Sounds had 10 hits but managed just two runs thanks to a 1-for-11 showing with runners in scoring position.
Angel Castro and Ryan Verdugo have been piggy-backing thus far this season. Castro went the first five innings and Verdugo pitched the final four. Castro took the loss, allowing four runs in those five innings. He allowed five hits and no walks and he struck-out two. Verdugo allowed two runs on three hits in his four frames. He walked two and struck-out one.
The Sounds will have another tandem starter situation starting next week. Rehabbing left-hander Sean Nolin will join the Sounds from extended spring training. He is scheduled to go three innings in relief of Barry Zito on Saturday.
In other Nashville roster move, utilityman Tyler Ladendorf landed on the seven-day DL after injuring his ankle on Monday running the bases. Catcher Blake Forsythe was activated off of Nashville's DL, giving the Sounds three catchers on their roster. The timing of Ladendorf's injury is unfortunate, as he likely would have been the player the A's recalled if Ben Zobrist's knee injury ends up requiring a DL stint.
Atherton Hurls a Gem, but Ports Fall Late
Tim Atherton was brilliant on Tuesday, but he received no run support and was hung with a no-decision in a 5-1 Stockton Ports' loss to the Bakersfield Blaze. Atherton allowed just two hits and a run in seven innings, striking out 11. He walked only one. Atherton's ERA through three starts is 1.59, but he has yet to record a win thanks to minimal run support.
The Blaze did most of their damage in the eighth, when Tim Lopes hit a grandslam off of Tyler Hollstegge to break a 1-1 tie. That would be all that the Blaze pitching staff would need to earn the win.
Stockton managed just four hits, with Tyler Marincov leading the way with two. One of those hits was his first homerun of the season. He also walked. Marincov has a six-game hitting streak and he is batting .342 over his last 10 games (.283 overall). Branden Cogswell and J.P. Sportman had the other two hits for Stockton. Franklin Barreto struck-out three times and now has 13 strike-outs in 12 games.
The Ports will have a big leaguer in their midst later this week, as A's right-hander Jarrod Parker is set to make a rehab start with Stockton on Thursday in Visalia.
Bats Silent as Beloit Falls to Bees
All six of the Snappers' hits came off of the bats of three hitters -- Trent Gilbert, Shawn Duinkerk and Yairo Munoz. All six hits were singles. Duinkerk raised his average to .311 with his two-hit game. Gilbert is 8-for-his-last-22 to raise his average to .279 on the year. He has walked only once in 11 games, however.
Schwartz struggled with his command. He walked four batters in 4.1 innings and was charged with three runs (two earned) on five hits. He struck-out five. Kevin Johnson allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in 2.2 innings before Jose Torres threw two scoreless frames to keep the game reasonably close. Torres struck-out four and walked none. The left-hander has 10 strike-outs in 7.2 innings this season. He walked five over his first two outings, but he hasn't walked a batter in his last two outings (5 innings).