Triple-A Pacific Coast League
Last Game: L, 3-2 (vs. Memphis)
Next Game: vs. Memphis (Fri. April 28, 7:05 p.m. CDT)
Iowa dropped their eighth in a row on Thursday. Jerome Williams, fresh off a demotion from the big league club, allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings. He gave up two home runs in his first minor league outing since June 15 of last year.
Two Double-A all-stars from a year ago, Buck Coats and Casey McGehee, continued their hot hitting. McGehee garnered two hits for his fourth straight multi-hit night to raise his average to .286 in 20 games, while Coats boasted his eighth two-hit game in 17 starts. He is batting .344 after making the switch to the outfield earlier this spring.
West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx
Double-A Southern League
Last Result: L, 6-4 (vs. Jacksonville)
Next Game: vs. Jacksonville (Fri. April 28, 7:05 p.m. CDT)
West Tenn continued its recent slide as J.R. Mathes lost his second straight start. After a nine-run showing against Chattanooga over the past weekend, he was in better form against the defending Southern League champs, but still suffered the loss with two earned runs in five innings to bring his ERA to 5.40.
Entering the night, right-hander Thomas Atlee had coughed up a run in each of his last three appearances, but threw a scoreless inning while allowing one hit on Thursday. Atlee began the year without allowing a run in his first 8 1/3 innings of work. He has a strikeout in each of his last six outings and a 1.88 ERA in nine appearances.
OF Nic Jackson made his first start with the AA team after being beckoned from Daytona earlier this week. He finished 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 14 games dating back to the Class-A affiliate. OF Chris Walker has hit safely in six of his last seven games and is batting .241 atop the lineup. Second baseman Eric Patterson has also hit safely in six of his last seven starts for a .274 average. He has struck out 21 times in as many games.
Class-A Florida State League
Last Result: L, 8-6 (at Palm Beach)
Next Game: at Palm Beach (Fri. April 28, 6:05 p.m. CDT)
Daytona's offense pounded out 10 hits, but their pitching staff failed them for the second straight night. After allowing 11 runs in their series-opening loss to Palm Beach on Wednesday, the team gave up 12 hits on Thursday en route to their second consecutive loss.
Starter Matt Weber was tagged for three runs in five innings as his ERA crept above nine points after his fifth start. Opponents are crushing the ball at a .354 mark against the right-hander this season and he is tied for the most home runs allowed (five) in the Florida State League with recently released right-hander Angelo Burrows.
Jake Fox's 11-game hitting streak ended in the series-opening loss, but he bounced back with his fifth home run of the season on Thursday. He is batting .347 through 19 games, good for sixth overall in the Florida State League. Fox currently has a slugging percentage of .639 that places him second in the league. His 17 runs scored is tied for third.
After batting just .121 through his first 10 games, first baseman Matt Craig extended his hitting streak to eight games with his first home run of 2006. He has drawn 11 walks to 10 strikeouts and is batting .270. Craig was initially said to be trying his hand at catching entering the year, but has played all 18 games at first this season.
Class-A Midwest League
Last Result: W, 6-2 (vs. Dayton)
Next Game: at Dayton (Fri. April 28, 7 p.m. CDT)
Left-hander and 2005 second-round draft pick Donald Veal gave up seven hits in five innings, but escaped with only two runs allowed for his second win. Veal struck out five and walked three before a Dayton crowd (8,027) that, per usual, would sometimes give a couple of major league clubs a run for their money. In relief, southpaw Tim Layden struck out five of the eight batters he faced and has now fanned 15 in 12 innings. He has a 2.25 ERA in seven appearances.
Third baseman Brandon Taylor, who admits he now sees how slim the chances are of a Class A prospect making it to the major leagues following the release of teammate Johnny Defendis last week, picked up a season-high three hits including his fourth double to raise his average to .247.
OF Davy Gregg finished with two hits, but struck out for the 17th time in 77 at-bats this season. He has fanned in each of his last seven games and has just two extra base hits in 19 games for a .260 average. First baseman Ryan Norwood extended his hitting streak to six games and is batting .333 through 20 games, good for seventh best in the Midwest League.
Steve Holley is the publisher of Inside The Ivy. In addition to his work for Scout.com, he also covers Nicholls State University athletics for the Tri-Parish Times in southeast Louisiana. E-mail Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.