Minor League Roundup - 6/18

The Single-A Hickory Crawdads became the second Texas Rangers affiliate to clinch a first-half division title and a postseason berth in as many days on Saturday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action.

AAA: Round Rock 7 – Omaha 5
W - Tomko (2-3)
SV - Eppley (6)
HR - Davis (11, 12), Cruz (8), Butler (4)
38-31, 2.0 GB

One day after the Express were held scoreless on just three hits, the offense busted out for seven runs, including four round-trippers.

Third baseman Chris Davis (.337/.382/.815) responded after two consecutive hitless games, going 2-for-3 with two homers, a HBP, and four runs batted in. He now has six doubles, a triple, and 12 long balls in 23 Triple-A games.

Right fielder Joey Butler (.327/.376/.528) put Round Rock ahead for good with his two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth. It would be his only knock in four trips.

Second baseman Luis Cruz, who was 2-for-4, also added a solo homer––his eighth of the season.

Cruz and Davis both hit a home run off rehabbing Royals starter Bruce Chen, who yielded four runs in five innings pitched.

DH Brian Barden (1/2, 2B, 2 BB) doubled and walked twice while Robinzon Diaz (2/4) singled two times in four at-bats.

Express starter Brett Tomko earned his second Triple-A victory this season, as he worked six innings and gave up four runs (three earned). He allowed five hits and fanned two without walking a batter.

Cody Eppley (0.89 ERA/.176 BAA) recorded four strikeouts in 1.1 innings to close out the game and earn his sixth save. He walked one.

Since socking six homers during a recent nine-game stretch, Chad Tracy has gone 1-for-18 with seven strikeouts. Leadoff hitter Julio Borbon is also struggling. He went hitless on Saturday and is just 12-for-56 (.214/.302/.286) in 14 Triple-A contests.

Player of the Game: 3B Chris Davis
3 2 2 0 2 4 0 1 .337

AA: Frisco 9 – (@) Corpus Christi 6 (13 innings)
W - Flores (2-1)
HR - Bianucci (15)
38-29, 9.0 GB

The RoughRiders and Hooks played a 13-inning marathon that lasted longer than four hours on Saturday evening. Cleanup hitter Mike Bianucci (.266/.319/.494) finally put Frisco ahead by socking a three-run homer in the top of the 13th.

Bianucci had a strong day overall, with three hits and a walk in seven plate appearances.

After Frisco starter Jake Brigham yielded three runs in the first inning, he began to settle down. He retired the side in order during the second, third, and fourth innings.

Overall, Brigham surrendered four runs (three earned) over six innings, giving up six hits, walking two, and striking out seven.

Travis Adair (3/6, 2B, BB) and Tom Mendonca (1/6, 2B, BB) both doubled in the game. Mendonca now has at least one extra-base hit in each of his last nine games.

Engel Beltre (3/7) and Guilder Rodriguez (3/6) singled three times while Davis Stoneburner (2/5, 2 BB) and Jose Felix (2/5) had two knocks apiece.

The Frisco bullpen carried the club through extra innings and finished the game by retiring the final 16 Corpus Christi batters.

Right-hander Tyler Tufts (2.22 ERA/.277 BAA) fanned three in 1.2 shutout frames, and Adalberto Flores (2.50 ERA/.214 BAA) followed with four perfect innings of relief on 47 pitches. He struck out six.

Player of the Game: DH Mike Bianucci
6 2 3 0 1 3 1 0 .266

A+: Myrtle Beach 8 – Frederick 5
W - Hurley (1-3)
SV - Kelly (9)
40-29, 2.5 GU

The first-half division champion Pelicans scored four times in the bottom of the eighth to come back and earn the victory.

Switch-hitting leadoff man Leury Garcia (.263/.304/.353) remained red-hot, as he went 3-for-5 with his 16th stolen base of the season. Garcia now has exactly three hits in each of his last three contests.

Jared Hoying (3/5, 2B), Mitch Hilligoss (2/4, 2B), Chris McGuiness (1/4, 2B, BB) and Jared Bolden (1/4, 2B) all doubled once.

Centerfielder Ryan Strausborger extended his on-base streak to 29 consecutive games after he singled and walked in five trips.

Jared Prince (2/5) and Zach Zaneski (2/4, BB) both singled twice.

Spot starter Kenny Gomez kept his club in the game, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks in four innings of work. Left-hander Chad Bell gave up one run in 2.1 frames, scattering five hits and fanning three.

Ryan Kelly (4.76 ERA/.265 BAA) has good stuff, but he has also been inconsistent during the first half. He fanned one in a perfect ninth to get the save.

Player of the Game: SS Leury Garcia
5 1 3 1 0 1 0 0 .263

A: Hickory 5 – Charleston 3
W - Van Meter (5-0)
SV - Rodebaugh (10)
HR - Clark (3)
40-27, 1.0 GU

After June 1, the Hickory Crawdads were in sixth place out of seven teams in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division. And by June 18, they'd climbed the ladder––going 12-2 since that game––and clinched a first-half division title. Hickory will be playing in the Sally League playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Hickory did it by scoring all five of its runs in the final two at-bats. The RiverDogs carried a 3-0 lead into the top of the seventh, and the Crawdads came back with five unanswered runs.

Louisville product and DH Andrew Clark led the charge with his two-run homer in the seventh inning, bringing the Hickory bats to life. He also singled in the game.

Shortstop Jurickson Profar (1/4, 3B) hit his third triple while centerfielder Teodoro Martinez (1/3, 2B) knocked his seventh double.

Jake Skole (1/3) had the team's only other hit.

Hickory's first two pitchers of the night––Nick Tepesch and Ben Rowen––combined to induce 16 groundouts in the first seven innings.

Tepesch (3.71 ERA/.265 BAA) spread five hits and three walks over five innings, limiting the damage to two runs. He fanned one and induced 10 groundouts versus four flyouts.

Rowen, who got six groundouts in two innings, allowed an unearned run.

Joe Van Meter picked up his fifth win and Ryan Rodebaugh got his 10th save. Both right-handers held Charleston at bay for one inning apiece.

Rodebaugh's earned-run average now sits at 0.49 on the season, and he has 44 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched.

Player of the Game: DH Andrew Clark
3 1 2 0 1 2 0 0 .290

SSA: Spokane 7 – Salem-Keizer 2
W - J. Grullon (1-0)
1-1, 0.0 GU

Spokane's second game of the season was delayed for approximately 45 minutes due to rain, but the weather must have sounded good to many Texans––it was 55 degrees at first pitch.

Making his official state-side debut, 18-year-old southpaw Victor Payano hurled four scoreless innings. The 6-foot-5 hurler was a little more wild than normal––walking four batters––but he fanned three and allowed just two hits.

Salem-Keizer also stole four bases off Payano in his four innings.

Nine-hole hitting left fielder Braxton Lane went 3-for-4 with a double and a run batted in. The switch-hitting speedster is playing in Spokane after scuffling in the complex league for the last two summers.

Shortstop Hanser Alberto went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in. Rougned Odor (2/5), Hirotoshi Onaka (1/4, BB), Nick Vickerson (1/4) and Carson Vitale (1/3, BB) had the club's other hits.

Jorge Alfaro was 0-for-3 but reached after getting hit by a pitch.

The Indians' pitching staff did an excellent job of limiting the damage, as Salem-Keizer went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners on base.

Juan Grullon (2 IP) and Kyle Hendricks (1 IP) held the Volcanoes scoreless in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.

Then a pair of former position players finished off the game. Leonel de los Santos, who was converted to the mound from behind the plate in spring training, allowed two runs (one earned) in one inning. He fanned one and had a throwing error of his own.

Fireballing righty Matt West, a third baseman who began pitching at the beginning of extended spring training, punched out one in a perfect ninth inning. West throws his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s, and he is expected to be the Indians' closer.

Player of the Game: LF Braxton Lane
4 2 3 1 0 1 0 1 .750

DSL: DSL Rangers 7 – DSL Phillies 2
W - Gomez (2-0)
11-5, 0.5 GU

Left-hander Nerfy Nunez, who has perhaps one of the greatest names in all of professional baseball, got the start for the DSL Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

The 18-year-old Dominican Republic native allowed one run in three innings of work, giving up two hits and walking one. He didn't record a strikeout.

The Rangers' offense made the most of its opportunities, plating the seven runs on only six hits. DH Elio Castillo was the biggest contributor, going 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBI, and a stolen base. Catcher Fernando Vivili was 1-for-4 with his third double.

Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Chris Garia was 0-for-3 officially, but he walked twice and stole a pair of bases.

The Rangers were 6-for-6 on the base paths in the game.

Jose Gomez (2 IP), Ricardo Rodriguez (1 IP), Luis Morel (1 IP) and Angelo Leclerc (1 IP) all worked scoreless ball out of the bullpen.

Righty Jesus Fandino was the only DSL Rangers' reliever to give up a run. He yielded one run in one inning after he issued three walks and uncorked a wild pitch.

Player of the Game: DH Elio Castillo
3 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 .250

Subscribe to LoneStarDugout.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and all premium content on LoneStarDugout.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.

Sample the LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.

Future Rangers Top Stories