Minor League Roundup - 4/17

The Single-A Hickory Crawdads turned in a solid all-around performance on Sunday, defeating Kannapolis 12-3. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action.

AAA: Round Rock 6 – (@) New Orleans 5 (10 innings)
W - Eppley (1-0)
HR - Nelson (2), Tracy (2)
7-4, 0.5 GU

After dropping three-of-four to begin the season, Round Rock has won six of its last seven games behind some solid pitching and timely hitting.

On Sunday, the majority of the damage was done by cleanup man Chad Tracy, who was 3-for-5. Tracy belted a two-run homer in the sixth inning before notching the game-winning single in the top of the 10th.

The Express got a strong spot-start from righty Seth McClung, filling in for the recently promoted Michael Kirkman. McClung threw just 37 of 70 pitches for strikes, but he worked through four scoreless innings, giving up two hits and two walks. He struck out five.

Leadoff hitter and second baseman Esteban German matched Tracy's three-knock performance, going 3-for-5 with a double.

Endy Chavez singled once in four trips, giving him a hit in all nine games this season. He also notched his fourth steal in as many tries.

Catcher Taylor Teagarden, who singled once and walked once, has logged a 1-for-3 line in all five of his games played thus far.

Brad Nelson tacked on a sixth-inning solo home run––his second––for his only hit in four at-bats.

A trio of relievers––Chris Mobley, Ryan Tucker, and Zach Phillips––allowed the Zephyrs back into the ballgame, but Cody Eppley shut the door with 2.1 frames of scoreless ball.

Eppley threw 20 of 31 pitches for strikes, giving up one hit, walking one, and fanning three. He recorded three groundouts as well.

After missing a start due to an illness, right-hander Eric Hurley has been activated from the disabled list and will return to the mound for Monday night's series finale.

Player of the Game: DH Chad Tracy
5 1 3 0 1 3 0 0 .268

AA: Frisco 5 – (@) Arkansas 8
L - Pimentel (0-2)
HR - Stoneburner (1)
4-6, 3.0 GB

A team isn't going to win many games when the starting pitcher logs just two innings and the offense goes 2-for-17 with men in scoring position, stranding 15 men on base.

And that was the case for the Frisco RoughRiders in Sunday's series opener in Little Rock.

Starting pitcher Carlos Pimentel threw 65 pitches (36 strikes) in two-plus innings, surrendering six runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out one.

The club plated five runs on 14 hits, with the biggest shot being a Davis Stoneburner two-run shot in the first inning. The second baseman also added a single and was hit by a pitch.

Left fielder Jonathan Greene (3/4, 2B, BB) and first baseman Jose Ruiz (1/3, 2B, 2 BB) doubled for the club's other extra-base hits.

In his first six games, the 25-year-old Greene is 9-for-21 (.429) with four doubles. Ruiz, through eight games, is 10-for-25 (.400) with six walks and five strikeouts.

Mike Bianucci (2/4, BB), Tom Mendonca (2/4, BB) and Guilder Rodriguez (2/5) all singled twice. Bianucci and Rodriguez had stolen bases.

Hard-throwing righty Fabio Castillo permitted six runs in one-third of an inning during his first appearance of the season on Thursday. His second outing was much smoother, throwing 13 of 17 pitches for strikes and tossing 1.2 scoreless frames. He allowed just one single.

Player of the Game: 2B Davis Stoneburner
5 2 2 0 1 2 0 1 .200

A+: Myrtle Beach 8 – (@) Lynchburg 2
W - Ross (1-0)
HR - Olt (3), Zaneski (1)
6-3, 0.5 GB

The Pelicans picked up a relatively easy three-game road sweep, outscoring Lynchburg by a combined score of 26-8.

The Lynchburg Hillcats are the new High-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. And a number of Lynchburg's current players spent last season with the Pelicans. Myrtle Beach had been an Atlanta affiliate for the first 12 years of the franchise's existence.

Sunday's starter, lefty Robbie Ross, allowed his share of base runners but kept the Hillcats off the board. Ross hurled six scoreless innings, scattering four hits, three walks, and a hit batsman. He fanned three and induced nine groundouts to one flyout, including a pair of double play grounders.

In his first three outings of the season––including two starts––the 21-year-old prospect has 11 scoreless innings with five walks and 11 strikeouts.

Myrtle Beach got big offensive production from catcher Zach Zaneski and third baseman Mike Olt. Zaneski, who hit sixth in the lineup, was 3-for-5 with a double, a homer, and three runs batted in.

Olt actually saw his average drop to .424 after he was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer. The long ball was Olt's third––and his eighth extra-base hit––in nine contests.

First baseman Chris McGuiness (2/4, 2B, BB) and centerfielder Ryan Strausborger (2/5) had two hits apiece.

Kasey Kiker, who came on in relief of Ross, permitted two runs on three hits and a walk in two innings of work. The 23-year-old had issued seven walks in two innings over his first two appearances.

Sinkerballing righty Kenny Gomez fanned the side in a scoreless ninth to close out the victory. He worked around a single and a walk.

A starting pitcher at the Single- and High-A levels from '08 to '10, Gomez appears to be having some success in a relief role so far this year. Over his first six innings, the 23-year-old has given up one run on three hits, walking three and striking out 10.

Player of the Game: LHP Robbie Ross
6.0 4 0 0 3 4 0 0.00

A: Hickory 12 – (@) Kannapolis 3
W - Rojas (2-0)
HR - Roof (1)
7-4, 1.0 GB

With right-hander Nick Tepesch moving into the Crawdads' rotation, righties Carlos Melo and Randol Rojas will now piggyback each other in games.

That was the case on Sunday, when Melo and Rojas went four innings apiece. Melo permitted two runs (one earned), giving up three hits and walking three. He struck out five.

The 20-year-old Rojas held the Intimidators to one unearned run while scattering four hits. Rojas fanned five and induced two groundouts without walking a batter.

The Crawdads offense remained hot, plating 12 total runs, including four in the top of the first inning.

Scuffling right fielder Josh Richmond provided a spark with a pair of doubles in four at-bats. Teodoro Martinez (2/5, 2B, BB), Tomas Telis (2/5, 2B) and Christian Villanueva (1/3, 2B, BB, HBP) all doubled once.

Shortstop Jonathan Roof fanned three times in four official at-bats, but he belted a solo home run––the first of his professional career––in the third inning. Roof also walked.

Catcher Kellin Delgan went just 1-for-4, but he contributed with three runs batted in.

Kennesaw State product Ryan Rodebaugh worked around two ninth-inning singles to hurl a scoreless inning and finish out the victory.

Player of the Game: RHP Randol Rojas
4.0 4 1 0 0 5 0 3.38

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