Minor League Roundup - 4/10

Talented right-handed starting pitchers Justin Grimm and Barret Loux made their official professional debuts on Sunday afternoon. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action.

AAA: Round Rock 6 – Iowa 8
L - Tomko (0-1)
1-3, 1.0 GB

Chris Davis, who played as Round Rock's DH on Sunday, didn't hit any home runs but remained plenty hot at the plate. Davis went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in. He is now 9-for-17 with two doubles and four round-trippers through four contests.

Starting pitcher Brett Tomko, 38, gave up six runs (five earned) in five-plus innings. He faced five batters in the sixth without recording an out, and all three eventually scored.

Righty relievers Yoshinori Tateyama and Ryan Tucker yielded one run in two innings apiece.

Playing in his first game of the season, second baseman Matt Kata was 2-for-3 with a double and two walks.

The Express also got extra-base knocks from Craig Gentry (1/5, 3B) and Brian Barden (2/5, 2B).

LF Esteban German (2/5), SS Luis Cruz (2/5) and RF Doug Deeds (2/5) all singled twice.

All nine players in the Round Rock lineup had at least one hit during the game. The club collected 16 total hits but scored just six runs. They stranded 12 men on base for the afternoon.

Player of the Game: DH Chris Davis
5 1 3 1 0 2 0 1 .529

AA: Frisco 11 – Springfield 4
W - Perconte (1-0)
HR - Bianucci (4)
3-1, 1.0 GB

Through four games this season, the bulk of Frisco's offense has been provided by a pair of sluggers that scuffled in High-A last season––Mike Bianucci and Tom Mendonca.

Mendonca went hitless with two strikeouts in Sunday's contest, but Bianucci turned in another strong performance. The strong left fielder went 2-for-5 with a home run––his fourth in as many games––and three RBI.

Making his first Double-A start, lefty Miguel de los Santos permitted four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. He walked one and fanned eight.

While de los Santos has excellent stuff, his fastball command is often erratic, leading to high pitch counts. But the hurler needed just 35 pitches to complete three innings, giving up one hit and striking out six.

The Dominican Republic native ran into trouble in the fourth, when he coughed up three consecutive doubles followed by a home run. Still, de los Santos proved that his stuff––primarily his fastball and plus-plus changeup––is plenty good to miss bats at the Double-A level.

Thanks to an offensive explosion by the ‘Riders bats, de los Santos left the contest with Frisco in the lead.

The club got doubles from Engel Beltre (2/5, 2B), Jonathan Greene (1/3, 2B, BB) and Jose Felix (1/4, 2B). Beltre has a double and two triples through four games.

Cuba native Jose Ruiz notched three singles in four at-bats, making him 5-for-10 in three contests.

Relief pitchers Mike Perconte (1.1 IP), Beau Jones (2 IP) and Adalberto Flores (1 IP) combined on 4.1 innings of shutout ball to close out the victory. Perconte picked up his first victory as a member of the Rangers' organization.

Player of the Game: LF Mike Bianucci
5 1 2 0 1 3 0 1 .438

A+: Myrtle Beach 6 – Wilmington 7 (11 innings – Game 1)
L - Ortiz (0-1)
HR - Adair (1), Olt (1)

In Friday's season opener, the Myrtle Beach pitching staff combined to strike out 16 Wilmington hitters. They fanned 16 once again, although this time it was done in 11 innings.

A rainstorm halted Saturday night's game with the score tied in the ninth inning. When it resumed on Sunday afternoon, Wilmington squeaked out the one-run victory.

Making his High-A debut, lefty Robbie Erlin permitted three runs in four innings. He gave up five hits, walked one, and struck out six.

Erlin's final spring training start came against the exact same Wilmington lineup. And the results were strikingly similar––three runs allowed in four innings.

Former first-round pick Kasey Kiker is beginning the season in High-A in order to work with Pelicans pitching coach Brad Holman. His first outing wasn't ideal. In two-thirds of an inning, Kiker walked three batters and unleashed a pair of wild pitches.

Righties Johan Yan (1.1 IP), Joe Wieland (1 IP) and Kenny Gomez (2 IP) all worked scoreless ball out of the bullpen.

Third baseman Mike Olt had a strong effort, going 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and two walks. DH Travis Adair added a solo long ball for his only hit in five trips.

Leury Garcia was 0-for-5 with a walk, but he stole three bases. The speedy shortstop now has five swipes in his first two games of the season.

Zach Zaneski (2/5, 2B) singled and doubled while Chris McGuiness (2/5) singled twice.

Player of the Game: 3B Mike Olt
3 1 1 0 1 3 2 0 .667

A+: Myrtle Beach 4 – Wilmington 3 (9 innings – Game 2)
W - Bell (1-0)
SV - Tufts (1)
2-1, 0.0 GU

Sunday's scheduled contest pitted a pair of intriguing pitching prospects––Texas' Barret Loux and the Royals' Jake Odorizzi––against each other. While both hurlers pitched well, the game was ultimately decided by the bullpens.

Making his official pro debut, Loux worked 5.1 innings and surrendered three runs. He gave up five hits (four singles) while walking one and striking out five.

Left-hander Chad Bell walked two batters in 2.2 innings, but he held Wilmington to only one hit while tossing the scoreless relief. Tyler Tufts worked a perfect ninth inning to earn the save.

The Myrtle Beach pitchers did an excellent job of keeping the ball on the ground. Loux, Bell and Tufts combined to induce 14 groundouts against only three flyouts.

The strong relief work from Bell and Tufts allowed the offense to strike back with three runs in the last two innings for the comeback win.

Catcher Vin DiFazio, who was 3-for-4 with a double, had the big knock, with his game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

Centerfielder Ryan Strausborger (1/4, 2B) and third baseman Mike Olt (1/2, 2B, 2 BB) also added two-baggers.

Through three contests, Olt is 5-for-8 with two doubles, a home run, and five walks against no strikeouts.

Player of the Game: C Vin DiFazio
4 0 3 1 0 2 0 0 .429

A: Hickory 3 – Asheville 8 (7 innings – Game 1)
L - Thompson (0-1)
HR - Gomez (1), Telis (1)

Righty Matt Thompson was a bit erratic in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. The Metroplex native surrendered four runs in four innings, giving up six hits and walking three. He struck out one.

Thompson's three walks in four frames are a bit of a surprise. He issued just 23 free passes in 129.1 innings last season.

Relief pitcher Colby Killian, the Rangers' 41st round pick in last summer's draft, was knocked around for four runs on six hits in two frames.

Braden Tullis finished it out with a scoreless seventh, working around a single and a hit batsman.

First baseman Jhonny Gomez got the Crawdads on the board with his solo home run in the bottom of the third inning. He singled and walked in his other two plate appearances.

Three-hole hitting backstop Tomas Telis belted a solo homer of his own in the fourth. Telis, who was a full-time DH last season while returning from Tommy John surgery, threw out two-of-four attempted base stealers in the game.

Andrew Clark (1/3, 2B), Jake Skole (1/2, BB) and Teodoro Martinez (1/3) had the team's other hits.

Player of the Game: 1B Jhonny Gomez
2 1 2 0 1 1 1 0 .667

A: Hickory 2 – Asheville 3 (7 innings – Game 2)
L - Doyle (0-1)
2-2, 2.0 GB

Hickory's two-run first inning held up until the Tourists came back with three runs in their final two at-bats.

Although he didn't factor in the decision, right-hander Justin Grimm turned in an excellent professional debut. The University of Georgia product worked 5.1 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on just two hits. He walked one and struck out eight.

Grimm tossed shutout ball through the first five innings, facing only two batters over the minimum. In the sixth, he surrendered a leadoff homer, a hitter reached on an error, and he got a strikeout before being lifted for Andrew Doyle.

Doyle wound up getting stuck with the loss and blown save after he permitted a run in 1.2 innings. The righty gave up a hit, walked a man, and fanned two.

The Hickory offense mustered only four hits in Sunday's nightcap. First baseman and cleanup hitter Andrew Clark led the way, going 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base, and a run batted in.

Catcher Kellin Deglan (1/3) and centerfielder Teodoro Martinez (1/2) had the other two knocks.

Following a strong performance in spring training, outfielder Josh Richmond has begun his 2011 regular season in a bit of a funk. The 21-year-old prospect is just 1-for-11 with two walks and four strikeouts in four games.

Player of the Game: RHP Justin Grimm
5.1 2 2 1 1 8 1 1.69

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