Down on the Dodger Farm June 26

He's one of the more obscure members of the Dodger system. Non-drafted out of St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he played independent ball in the Northern League until spotted by Maury Wills, who recommended him to L.A. He's something of an irregular with Vero Beach, never certain what position he'll play or even if he'll play at all. Lately, though, Brian Sprout has been hard to ignore.

Sprout hit his second home run in as many nights for Vero Saturday and this one was decisive as it carried the Dodgers to a 4-1 victory over visiting Sarasota to leave them in a two-way tie with St. Lucie for the top spot in the Florida State East. Sprout's three-run blast, his fourth of the year, came in the fifth to erase a 1-0 deficit and hand the win to Chad Billingsley (5-4), who was in charge for 5.1 innings, giving up just a solo shot in the way of scoring while holding the Red Sox to four hits in all.

Sprout also singled while Trey Dyson doubled and singled. Steve Schmoll and Jumbo Diaz provided strong relief with Diaz notching his third save in as many tries since coming up from Columbus. Vero has now won four straight after an opening second-half loss.

Elsewhere there was was winning and a couple of rain-outs.

Las Vegas 5, Fresno 3--Forget what you were told about a belated decision to split the PCL season into halves. Once again, they're recording all the games played thus far in the standings, sadly for Vegas which, even with this win, is still way, way back, 15 games to be precise, in the Southern Division. The 51's came up with two in the 10th to take this one with the win going to Tom Farmer (5-3), who pitched the ninth, and the save to Giovanni Carrera, his second, who held the Grizzlies down in the 10th.
Joel Hanrahan had a generally good performance (5.1 innings, seven hits, three runs ). Antonio Perez, Chin Feng Chen and Jose Flores were the offensive leaders, all with two hits.

Columbus 7, Augusta 2--Julio Pimentel, the winningest pitcher in the organization, was at it again, this time allowing only four hits and a solitary run over five innings to notch victory No. 8 (He's lost five). The 18-year-old Dominican righthander walked only one while striking out six. Luis Jimenez bopped two for his 12th and 13th of the season, igniting a four-run seventh with his second out of the yard. Jimmy Rohan hit his first plus a single. The Catfish are 3-2 for the half, just 1 /2 game out in the SAL South.

GCL Dodgers 3, Marlins 2--Although these Dodgers once again had double figure hit totals (10), they had to scrounge for runs, going 14 innings before they pulled it out. Jamie Hoffman banged three of those hits and Jim Peterson was 2-2. The Dodgers had to use five pitchers before Kale Garrison (1-0) picked up the victory. Julian DeLaCruz, who pitched in the Dominican League last year, threw five scoreless innings, giving up only two hits. LA's entry is 5-1, two games ahead in the East.

Rain on the opposite sides of the country washed out scheduled games of Jacksonville and Ogden. Rehabbing Paul Shuey was to have made his third appearance for Ogden but instead will join Las Vegas for his next one.