After a season cut short by injury, outfielder Richie Robnett may have had a little bit of rust at the start of the 2007 campaign. That rust appears to have come off completely, as Robnett is suddenly red-hot at the plate.
On Monday, Robnett collected three extra-base hits and finished a single short of the cycle in Midland's 15-1 rout of Arkansas. Robnett homered, doubled and tripled and drove-in five runs. He also added a walk. The Fresno State alum has a three-game hitting streak, during which he has collected two homers, two doubles and a triple. His slugging percentage is up to .567.
Robnett had plenty of help in guiding Midland to the win. Every Midland regular had at least one hit and Vince Faison, Danny Putnam, Jeff Baisley, Jason Perry, Vasili Spanos, Casey Myers and Eddie Cornejo each had two hits. Ben Fritz earned the win by limiting the Travelers to two hits and one run in six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The Midland offense has been strong this early season, helping the Rockhounds surge out to a 6-2 record. Baisley (.414), Perry (.429) and Myers (.429) are all hitting better than .400 and Cornejo is batting .500 on the early season. Robnett and Baisley are tied for the team-lead in RBIs with eight.
Reliever Mario Ramos made his season debut after starting the year on the DL. He struck out two and walked one in a scoreless frame. Andrew Shipman had a scoreless inning and Michael Rogers finished off the game with a scoreless inning. It was Rogers' second relief appearance of the season, perhaps an indication that he is being moved into the bullpen permanently. Rogers has not allowed a run in five innings and he has five strike outs on the season. Rogers, a 2004 second round pick of the A's, has been a starting pitcher throughout his minor league career with Oakland.
- Sacramento squeaked out a win against Tacoma on Monday, beating the Rainiers on the road by a score of 4-3. Brad Halsey moved to 2-0 by allowing three runs in 6.1 innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter, although he did allow two homers. Connor Robertson, Ron Flores and Marcus McBeth combined to pitch the final 2.2 scoreless innings to finish off the game. McBeth recorded his third save. Donnie Murphy went 3-4 with two doubles and an RBI, raising his batting average to .355. Kurt Suzuki went 2-2 with a walk and he is now hitting .324. Hiram Bocachica had two RBI.
- Kane County was nearly no-hit on Monday, as the road-weary team managed only a Jermaine Mitchell second inning single in their 7-0 loss to Burlington. The multiple double-headers and snow-outs may have taken a toll on the Cougars, who committed three errors and were never really in the game. Starter John Herrera allowed four runs in the first inning and six overall (five earned) in four innings.
- The Cougars have been hurt by injuries, in addition to weather, this early season. Outfielder Toddric Johnson had a shoulder injury and is just getting back on the field and pitcher Chad Lee has also been sidelined.
- First-baseman/catcher Don Sutton III has been sidelined with a shoulder injury.
- Starter Jared Lansford has missed two regular turns in the Stockton starting rotation with arm soreness.