Minor League Roundup - 6/17

The High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans clinched a first-half division title on Friday while the Spokane Indians opened their 2011 campaign with a strange game. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action.

AAA: Round Rock 0 – Omaha 4
L - Ramirez (4-2)
37-31, 2.0 GB

Round Rock fell to two games out of place, as the offense was shut out for the second consecutive game.

On Friday, the team was held to just three hits by a pair of former Rangers. Right-hander Luis Mendoza yielded only three singles over eight scoreless innings, and former Frisco RoughRider Jesse Chavez hurled a perfect ninth.

Express starter Neil Ramirez (3.65 ERA/.234 BAA) pitched well for the most part but was burned by a couple bad pitches. He worked five-plus innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits, walking three, and striking out six.

Ramirez had permitted just one earned run until he hung a sixth-inning curveball to Lorenzo Cain, who launched it out of the park for a two-run homer.

Righty reliever Mark Hamburger helped put out the fire with three innings of no-hit relief, walking and striking out one apiece.

The 24-year-old Hamburger struggled early in Triple-A, but he appears to be getting the hang of things. He has the following line over his last four outings––8.1 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 5 bb, 6 k.

Manny Delcarmen threw nine of 16 pitches for strikes and allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth inning. He fanned one and got the benefit of a 5-4-3 double play.

Second baseman Luis Cruz (2/3) and left fielder Doug Deeds (1/3) had all of Round Rock's hits. The team had as many hits as errors, with right fielder Joey Butler committing a pair and Cruz committing one.

Player of the Game: RHP Mark Hamburger
3.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 7.17

AA: Frisco 5 – (@) Corpus Christi 4
W - Miller (6-1)
SV - Castillo (7)
HR - Osuna (5)
37-29, 10.0 GB

After Friday's come-from-behind victory, the RoughRiders are now 11-5 in June. Unfortunately, the first-place San Antonio Missions are an incredible 13-2 this month.

Frisco fell behind early but clawed their way back with three runs in the sixth before DH Renny Osuna belted the game-winning solo home run in the top of the eighth.

Osuna (.304/.352/.415), who was 2-for-4 in the game, has already set a career best with five home runs through only 49 games played.

Third baseman Tom Mendonca (.332/.381/.595) continued to raise his average, as he was 2-for-4 with his 17th double. The Fresno State product is now 21-for-34 with six doubles, a triple, two homers, and 15 RBI over his last eight contests.

While Mendonca ranks second in the Texas League with 71 strikeouts in 61 games this season, he has whiffed only four times (with five walks) during the recent eight-game streak.

Left-hander Martin Perez (3.30 ERA/.261 BAA) didn't factor in the decision after he yielded four runs on six hits (including two homers) in five innings. He walked three and struck out five.

Perez posted a 2.74 ERA in April and a 1.47 ERA in May, but he has a 6.35 ERA in June after a couple rocky starts.

Hard-throwing reliever Justin Miller (2.88 ERA/.227 BAA) gave the offense time to strike by holding the Hooks scoreless through three innings. Yet another Fresno State product, Miller allowed just one hit and fanned five without issuing a free pass. He threw 26 of his 33 pitches for strikes.

Though Miller has always flashed a talented arm, he appears to be breaking out as a relief prospect this season. His velocity, breaking ball, and command have all improved. The end result has been a Texas League All-Star Game appearance and the following stat line––34.1 ip, 29 h, 11 r, 9 bb, 36 k.

Fabio Castillo stranded two runners while posting a scoreless ninth and picking up his seventh save.

First baseman Jose Ruiz (1/3, BB) singled and walked. Jonathan Greene was 1-for-4 with an RBI, but he also whiffed three times for the second consecutive game.

Player of the Game: DH Renny Osuna
4 2 2 0 1 2 0 0 .304

A+: Myrtle Beach 6 – Frederick 5
W - Wieland (6-3)
SV - Yan (7)
HR - Garcia (2)
39-29, 2.5 GU

With the Myrtle Beach win and Kinston loss, the Pelicans have clinched the Carolina League Southern Division first-half championship. Regardless of what happens in the second half, they'll be in the Carolina League playoffs for the first time since 2008.

The Myrtle Beach offense went to work early and often, plating six total runs in the first three innings.

Leadoff hitter Leury Garcia (.256/.298/.348) played a part in most of the scoring, going 3-for-4 with a homer and a walk. He scored three runs and drove in three runs.

The 20-year-old Garcia was flat-out bad in May, hitting .184 with two doubles, one walk, and 24 strikeouts over 23 games. In 17 contests this month, he has posted an impressive .320/.370/.493 slash line––perhaps his best month as a professional.

Starter Joe Wieland (2.10 ERA/.240 BAA) matched a season high with 7.2 innings pitched, and he pitched well until the eighth inning, when he allowed three runs.

Overall, he surrendered five runs––two earned––while scattering nine hits in 7.2 innings. All three of the unearned runs came in the eighth––due to his own throwing error. He fanned six without walking a batter, giving him 96 strikeouts and four walks in 85.2 innings on the season.

Wieland has logged 73.2 innings over his last 11 starts. In that span, he has punched out 79 while walking only one.

Second baseman Santiago Chirino (2/3, 2B), left fielder Jared Bolden (1/3, 2B, HBP) and right fielder Jared Prince (2/5, 2B) all doubled once.

Centerfielder Ryan Strausborger went 0-for-3, snapping his hitting streak at 16 games, but he reached base on a walk and a hit-by pitch. He has now reached base safely in 28 consecutive contests.

Backstop Vin DiFazio was 0-for-3 with a base on balls. Through 31 games, DiFazio has a poor .216 batting average with a sparkling .397 on-base percentage. He has more walks (23) than hits (21) on the season.

Sidearming right-hander Johan Yan worked a clean ninth inning to earn his seventh save and help punch the Pelicans' ticket to the postseason.

Player of the Game: SS Leury Garcia
4 3 3 0 1 3 1 0 .256

A: Hickory 10 – Charleston 2
W - Buckel (3-2)
HR - Telis (7)
39-27, 0.0 GU

Hickory and Greensboro both won on Friday, keeping the two clubs in a virtual deadlock atop the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.

But it doesn't quite end there. Because the Crawdads had two games canceled due to weather, they've played two fewer games than the Grasshoppers. It also means their winning percentage (.591) is slightly better than Greensboro's (.588).

So if the two clubs play to a ‘tie' in the final two games of the first half, Hickory will officially get the title and the automatic playoff berth.

Just like their A-ball counterparts in Myrtle Beach, Hickory jumped into a commanding lead early on, taking a 10-1 advantage over Charleston through five frames.

Starter Cody Buckel (2.19 ERA/.268 BAA) was excellent once again, limiting the opposition to a single run in five frames. The 18-year-old allowed five hits and struck out a career-best eight batters without issuing a walk.

Buckel has pitched exactly five innings in each of his last four starts, allowing one earned run or fewer each time.

DH Tomas Telis (.400/.400/.523 in June) went 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBI, and three runs scored.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva tripled for his only hit in four at-bats. Middle infielders Jurickson Profar (1/3, 2B, 2 BB) and Odubel Herrera (2/5, 2B) both doubled and stole a base.

Catcher Kellin Deglan, who batted ninth, was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Florida International product Jorge Marban (2.66 ERA/.132 BAA) finished the game by retiring all six batters he faced, getting a pair of strikeouts.

Speedy outfielder Teodoro Martinez hasn't appeared in a game since June 13, but he also isn't on the disabled list.

Player of the Game: DH Tomas Telis
5 3 3 0 1 3 0 1 .310

SSA: Spokane 2 – Salem-Keizer 14
L - D. Perez (0-1)
HR - Alfaro (1)
0-1, 0.0 GU

Six Spokane pitchers combined to strike out 16 batters in the nine innings. They also yielded 14 runs on 18 hits, seven walks, and a hit batsman.

Making his official state-side debut, talented right-hander David Perez had a rather unique line. The 18-year-old fanned eight batters in three-plus innings but allowed four runs on five hits and two walks.

Perez began his outing by fanning five in two scoreless frames. After yielding a single run in the third, he allowed three consecutive base runners in the fourth (single, walk, double) before getting lifted. All three runs ultimately scored.

Also making their official state-side debuts were second baseman Rougned Odor, shortstop Hanser Alberto, and catcher Jorge Alfaro.

Alfaro had a strong game, going 2-for-3 with an infield single, an opposite-field solo home run, and a walk. Alberto was 1-for-4 with a run-scoring triple and Odor singled once in five trips.

Nick Vickerson (1/4, BB), Guillermo Pimentel (1/3, BB) and Ruben Sierra (1/4) singled for the club's other hits. The versatile Vickerson was primarily a second baseman at Mississippi State but played left field on Friday.

The ages of Spokane's extremely young up-the-middle players––C Alfaro (17), 2B Odor (17), SS Alberto (18), CF Sierra (20).

Lefty Chris Hanna, who had an excellent debut summer with the AZL Rangers and Spokane in 2010, was battered for five runs in one inning of work.

Wichita State product Chance Sossamon was the lone Spokane pitcher with a clean stat-line. The 21st round pick struck out two in a shutout frame.

Carlos Melo struck out four batters in his lone inning––with one man reaching on a wild pitch strikeout––but yielded two runs.

After opening the season as a starting pitcher at Single-A Hickory, it appears that Melo will work out of the bullpen with Spokane.

Player of the Game: C Jorge Alfaro
3 1 2 0 1 1 1 0 .667

DSL: DSL Rangers 3 – DSL Mets1 2
W - Grullon (1-0)
10-5, 0.5 GU

The DSL Rangers reclaimed the division lead with a walkoff victory over the Mets.

Southpaw Pedro Tirado got the start and worked five innings of one-run ball. He yielded two hits, walked two, and struck out four.

Second baseman Alberto Triunfel had the best game of his young career, going 3-for-5 with a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

First baseman Christefer Obispo (2/4, 2B) and shortstop Luis Marte (1/3, 2B, BB) both doubled while third baseman Smerling Lantigua (2/3, BB) singled twice and walked once.

In his first 14 professional games, Lantigua is 17-for-51 (.333) with two doubles, five walks, and 13 strikeouts.

Left-hander Geuris Grullon struck out one in a perfect ninth inning. After pitching with Spokane in '09 and the rookie-level Surprise Rangers last season, the 21-year-old Grullon is now in the Dominican Summer League.

Grullon's DSL assignment is likely a product of crowded state-side short-season rosters, as the club looks to find innings for him. The southpaw has a fastball that ranges from 88-95 mph with excellent cutting action, but he has struggled to harness the command during his five-year career.

Player of the Game: LHP Pedro Tirado
5.0 2 1 1 2 4 0 2.92

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