Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/19

Hickory's Christian Villanueva and Josh Richmond belted two home runs apiece during Friday's doubleheader. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 12 – (@) Fresno 2
W - Hurley (8-1)
HR - Butler (11)
76-51, 12.0 GU

The Express finished off a four-game road sweep of the Fresno Grizzlies on Friday, bumping their division-clinching magic number to six.

Right fielder Joey Butler (.334/.391/.520) put the game out of reach with his sixth-inning grand slam off Fresno reliever Marc Kroon. He also doubled in the game.

Round Rock scored three runs in the second before busting out for an eight spot in the sixth.

Guilder Rodriguez (2/5, 2B), Nick Green (2/5, 2B), Esteban German (1/4, 2B, BB) and Kevin Cash (1/5, 2B) all doubled once. DH Brad Nelson (2/4, BB) and first baseman Jose Ruiz (2/5) had two singles apiece.

Nelson extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and he is batting .429/.500/.839 in 15 games this month.

Leadoff man Leonys Martin, who was 0-for-5 with a sacrifice fly, was the only Express batter to go without a knock.

While the offense had a strong day, so too did starting pitcher Eric Hurley (4.24 ERA/.294 BAA), who worked into the eighth inning. The 6-foot-4 hurler pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run and scattering eight hits. He threw 124 pitches (76 strikes) while walking four and fanning three.

Cody Eppley allowed one run in 1.2 innings while finishing the victory. The lone run was a solo homer off the bat of rehabbing Giants outfielder Andres Torres.

Outfielder Brad Eldred actually pitched the final 1.2 innings for the Grizzlies. He was actually the club's most effective pitcher, hurling scoreless ball while giving up two hits and striking out two.

Player of the Game: RF Joey Butler
5 3 2 1 1 4 0 1 .334

AA: Frisco 0 – (@) Northwest Arkansas 4
L - Pimentel (5-9)
27-26, 7.0 GB

Frisco suffered its first sweep since a series at San Antonio on August 6-9, 2010. The ‘Riders were shut down by Naturals starter Mario Santiago, who held them to four hits in seven scoreless innings. They had five hits for the game.

The knocks came from Jonathan Greene (1/4, 2B), Renny Osuna (1/4), Mitch Hilligoss (1/4), Davis Stoneburner (1/2, BB) and Jose Felix (1/3).

Tom Mendonca was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. He is batting just .211/.279/.385 with 56 strikeouts in 40 games since the Texas League All-Star break.

Right-handed starter Carlos Pimentel settled in after surrendering three first-inning runs, but the damage had already been done on a night where the ‘Riders wouldn't score.

Pimentel threw 95 pitches in six innings, giving up three runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out seven.

Since coughing up 10 runs in 3.2 innings on August 2, Pimentel has been strong over his last three starts––15 ip, 7 h, 3 r, 8 bb, 20 k.

Rehabbing Royals catcher Matt Treanor did most of the damage against Pimentel, going 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, and three runs batted in.

Player of the Game: RHP Carlos Pimentel
6.0 4 3 3 4 7 0 5.24

A+: Myrtle Beach 15 – Kinston 9
W - Osborne (4-2)
HR - Clark (2)
26-28, 3.5 GB

The Carolina League––and Myrtle Beach in particular––is regarded as an incredibly pitcher-friendly environment. But the Pelicans and K-Tribe had a 15-9 score through five innings on Friday. The bullpens both worked scoreless ball through the final four innings.

Kinston got a five-spot in the first against starting pitcher Justin Grimm, who recorded only one out before being lifted. Grimm allowed five runs––four earned––in one-third of an inning, giving up four hits, walking one, and striking out one. He permitted a grand slam.

Then the Pelicans went to work, scoring six and seven runs in the second and third innings, respectively.

First baseman Andrew Clark had his club's only round-tripper of the game. He went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI. Through six High-A contests, the 24-year-old is 8-for-23 (.348) with two doubles, two home runs, three walks, and two strikeouts.

LF Jared Hoying went 3-for-5 with two doubles, giving him 22 on the season. Jared Prince (2/5, 2B) and Santiago Chirino (1/4, 2B) both doubled while Ryan Strausborger (2/5, 3B) hit his ninth triple and added his 31st stolen base.

Backstop Zach Zaneski raised his on-base percentage to .344 with a perfect day at the plate––two singles and three walks in five trips.

Myrtle Beach's offense was 8-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Friday.

Hard-throwing reliever Ryan Kelly (4.00 ERA/.251 BAA) stopped the scoring onslaught with three shutout frames of long relief, giving up three hits while walking one and striking out three.

The 23-year-old Kelly has pitched well in his last six appearances––10.1 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 3 bb, 9 k.

Jimmy Reyes worked around three hits in two scoreless innings to close the game.

Player of the Game: 1B Andrew Clark
5 2 2 0 1 3 0 1 .348

A: Hickory 9 – Lexington 6 (9 innings – Game 1)
W - Doyle (1-1)
SV - Thompson (1) HR - Villanueva (15, 16), Richmond (10)

Hickory got a big early lead with the help of cleanup hitter and third baseman Christian Villanueva, who belted a pair of home runs and logged four RBI.

Right fielder Josh Richmond, who was 1-for-3 with a walk, added his 10th home run of the season in the sixth inning.

Starting pitcher Luke Jackson fanned one in a 1-2-3 first inning on Thursday before the game was suspended. Andrew Doyle began with the second inning on Friday, and he yielded three runs (two earned) in three innings pitched.

Shortstop Jonathan Roof went 1-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in.

Matt Thompson, who has struggled with control this season, earned the save after he worked three innings and allowed two runs. He gave up three hits, walked two, and struck out three.

Player of the Game: 3B Christian Villanueva
4 2 2 0 2 4 0 0 .279

A: Hickory 2 – Lexington 4 (7 innings – Game 2)
L - Van Meter (5-6)
HR - Richmond (11)
30-24, 1.5 GB

The Crawdads and Legends split Friday's doubleheader.

Right fielder Josh Richmond went yard in both games––he was 1-for-2 with a solo homer and a base on balls in the nightcap.

Starter Joe Van Meter allowed three runs on six hits in four innings, walking two and striking out seven. He surrendered a pair of home runs.

Jose Monegro (1 IP) and Jorge Marban (1 IP) both worked a scoreless frame out of the bullpen. Francisco Mendoza struck out the side in the seventh but also yielded a run.

Jurickson Profar (2/3, BB), Jonathan Roof (2/4), Odubel Herrera (2/4) and Clark Murphy (2/3, BB) all singled twice.

Player of the Game: RF Josh Richmond
2 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 .251

SSA: Spokane 3 - Boise 2
W - West (1-2)
10-14, 5.0 GB

Spokane picked up the walkoff victory, getting a run-scoring double from catcher Yefry Castillo in the bottom of the ninth. Castillo also singled earlier in the contest.

Closer Matt West blew the save in the top of the ninth––his fifth of the summer––after allowing a solo home run.

Lefty starter Kevin Matthews held Boise to a single run in 4.2 innings. The first-round pick gave up three hits, walked two, and struck out five.

Arlett Mavare (1.1 IP) and Kyle Hendricks (2 IP) followed with shutout ball in the bullpen. Since earning the promotion to Spokane, the 21-year-old Mavare has 12 strikeouts in 8.2 innings.

Player of the Game: C Yefry Castillo
4 1 2 1 0 1 0 2 .325

RK: AZL Rangers 4 – AZL Mariners 3
W - Williams (4-1)
32-16, 10.0 GU

There are still eight games remaining in the Arizona League's regular season, but the rookie-level Surprise Rangers clinched a division title and an AZL postseason berth with their walkoff victory on Friday.

After working a scoreless eighth, left-hander Greg Williams actually blew the save by allowing two runs in the top of the ninth. But the Rangers came back in the bottom of the frame, pushing the game-winning run across on a Joe Maloney (1/5) single.

Maloney, who was playing in just his fifth game of the summer due to injury, was the Rangers' cleanup hitter in the game.

Lefty Paul Strong (3.16 ERA/.298 BAA) kept the Mariners off the scoreboard during his four-inning start. Strong scattered five hits while walking one and striking out three.

Alexander Claudio yielded an unearned run in two innings. Junior college product Kyle DeVore (4.22 ERA/.304 BAA) fanned one in a perfect seventh.

Leadoff man and shortstop Nick Urbanus (.293/.363/.365) had only one hit in the game, but it was a bases-clearing three-run triple in the second inning––his fourth three-bagger of the summer.

Left fielder Jeremy Williams went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, and his 10th stolen base. Luis Mendez (0/2, 3 BB), Kevin Torres (1/3, 2 BB) and Guy Edmonds (1/3, BB) also reached twice.

After going 0-for-3 with a walk, speedy right fielder Rashad Harlin saw his average drop to .116 in his first 17 professional games. The 18-year-old California native was the Rangers' ninth round pick in this year's MLB Draft. He is hitless in his last eight games, going 0-for-22 with two walks and 12 punchouts.

Player of the Game: LHP Paul Strong
4.0 5 0 0 1 3 0 3.16

DSL: DSL Rangers 0 – (@) DSL Nationals 3 (7 innings)
L - Gomez (3-2)
40-30, 6.0 GB

Playing their second-to-last game of the Dominican Summer League campaign, the Rangers were shut out and lost 3-0 for the second consecutive day. The game was called––presumably due to rain––in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Panama native Jose Gomez (3.15 ERA/.261 BAA) got the start and allowed three runs in two innings pitched. The 17-year-old finishes his first professional campaign with a solid overall line––40 ip, 41 h, 11 bb, 35 k.

Leonel Gil (4.50 ERA/.264 BAA) followed Gomez with three shutout frames, working around two hits and two walks. He also struck out a pair.

Righty Jose Leclerc (2.36 ERA/.203 BAA) finished the game by fanning one in a 1-2-3 sixth inning. The 17-year-old tossed 6.1 hitless, scoreless frames in his final three appearances of the season.

Right fielder Esdras Abreu (.228/.313/.376) extended his modest hitting streak to six games by going 2-for-3 with his fifth double in 34 contests. Abreu had the Rangers' lone extra-base hit of the afternoon.

Alberto Triunfel (1/3), Belarmino Campos (1/4), Anderson Jesus (1/3), Jose Gonzalez (1/2), Luis Cedeno (1/3) and Ramon Urias (1/3) had the team's other knocks.

Campos, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound Panama native, is 20-for-66 (.303) with seven walks and six strikeouts in 21 games this summer.

Player of the Game: RF Esdras Abreu
3 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 .228

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