L - Phillips (0-2)
HR - Nelson (3)
14-9, 0.5 GU
Memphis came storming back for the victory with a seven-run seventh inning against starting pitcher Zach Jackson and reliever Zach Phillips.
Jackson (5.01 ERA/.271 BAA) wasn't bad on the whole, working 6.1 innings and allowing four runs on six hits. He walked one, plunked three, and struck out four.
Things fell apart after Phillips entered the game. The left-hander had been excellent before Saturday, but he was battered for six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks in one inning. He allowed back-to-back homers in the frame, including a grand slam to catcher Tony Cruz.
Phillips needed 45 pitches to record the three outs, and he saw his earned-run average balloon from 2.13 to 5.27.
First baseman Chad Tracy (.259/.337/.412), who is showing signs of heating up after a slow start, was 3-for-4 with a double and four runs batted in.
Designated hitter Brad Nelson (.257/.350/.429) went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer––his third of the season.
Esteban German (1/5, 2B) doubled while Endy Chavez (2/4, BB), Joey Butler (2/5) and Craig Gentry (2/4, BB) all singled twice.
Shortstop Matt Kata, who was 0-for-3 with a walk, was the only Express hitter to go without a knock on Saturday. The veteran utilityman is just 7-for-41 (.171) in 12 contests to begin his season.
W - Perconte (2-0)
SV - Hamburger (1)
HR - Bianucci (7), Felix (1, 2)
8-14, 7.0 GB
Frisco earned the victory behind the unusually powerful bat of catcher Jose Felix. As RoughRiders' hitting coach Brant Brown recently mentioned in an interview, he is working with Felix to try and bring out some of the backstop's raw power by getting him to pull the ball with more regularity.
On Saturday, Felix powered the club by going 2-for-4 with two round-trippers and three runs batted in. His career best for homers in a season is three, set in 100 games last year between Bakersfield and Frisco.
Designated hitter Mike Bianucci (.318/.379/.600), who was 2-for-4 with a double and a homer, knocked the two-run shot that proved to be the eventual game winner. He hit the long ball in the top of the eighth.
The ‘Riders got a couple strong offensive performances, but left-handed starter Martin Perez (2.74 ERA/.217 BAA) wasn't bad either. Perez threw 89 pitches in six innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out four.
The Venezuela native recorded 10 groundouts against only one flyout in Saturday's game. Perez, who has a two-to-one groundout/airout ratio so far this season, has done an excellent job of attacking the bottom-half of the strike zone in recent outings.
Renny Osuna (2/5, 2B) and Jose Ruiz (1/3, 2B, BB) had one two-bagger each. Third baseman Tom Mendonca singled twice in four at-bats, raising his average to .345.
With outfielder Engel Beltre suspended for 15-games, the RoughRiders are having to get creative in the outfield. On Saturday, the club played three natural infielders––Travis Adair (second base), Guilder Rodriguez (shortstop) and Jonathan Greene (third base) from left to right in the outfield.
Mark Hamburger (2.45 ERA/.176 BAA) worked two shutout frames on only 14 pitches (11 strikes) to earn his first save of the season.
W - Kelly (1-1)
SV - Yan (1)
14-8, 2.5 GB
Saturday night's wild affair nearly saw the Pelicans lose a 10-2 lead, which they carried until the top of the sixth. The Keys came storming back for eight late-inning runs, but the game ended with the tying score standing at third base.
The Myrtle Beach offense was once again led by leadoff hitter Ryan Strausborger (.337/.385/.558), who was 4-for-5 with three doubles, a hit-by pitch, and two runs batted in. The Indiana State product has eight doubles, two triples, and three round-trippers in 22 games.
Strausborger also gunned down Frederick's L.J. Hoes at home plate––the potential tying run––to end the top of the eighth inning.
Starting pitcher Ryan Kelly was excellent through five innings, but once again, he appeared to tire late in the outing. After permitting four sixth-inning runs, Kelly was stuck with six runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings, walking two and fanning three.
Reliever Chad Bell was touched for two runs on four hits in 1.1 innings. Johan Yan, who technically earned the save, also gave up two runs (both unearned) on four hits in two frames.
Nine-hole hitting designated Jared Bolden had two doubles and four RBI in five trips.
Mitch Hilligoss (1/3, 2B, BB) doubled and walked while Vin DiFazio (2/3, BB, HBP) and Jared Prince (2/5) both singled twice.
W - Rodebaugh (1-0)
HR - Richmond (1)
16-7, 1.5 GU
Hickory pitchers scattered 10 hits during the 10-inning game, holding the Intimidators to just one run.
Nick Tepesch (3.93 ERA/.333 BAA) and righty reliever Colby Killian (3.77 ERA/.250 BAA) worked three scoreless innings apiece to start the game. Tepesch was particularly impressive, giving up one hit, walking one, and striking out three.
Cleanup hitter Josh Richmond (.250/.372/.417) belted his first home run of the season. He also had a single in four at-bats.
Christian Villanueva (2/4, 2B), Jurickson Profar (1/4, 2B) and Jake Skole (1/4, 2B) all doubled once.
Villanueva had the walkoff single to center in the bottom of the 10th. He now has an impressive .338/.400/.514 slash line in 21 contests.
Designated hitter Kellin Deglan whiffed in all three of his official at-bats. He has 20 strikeouts in his first 14 games this season.
Ryan Rodebaugh (0.00 ERA/.212 BAA) finished out the game and earned his first victory after working around three hits and two walks for 2.2 shutout frames. The 22-year-old has yet to permit a run in 14 innings this season.
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