Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/20

Making his return from the disabled list on Saturday, Myrtle Beach third baseman Mike Olt went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and a walk. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 10 – New Orleans 9
W - Scheppers (1-0)
HR - Cash (6)
77-51, 12.0 GU

Round Rock moved another step toward clinching their division and a spot in the postseason on Saturday. Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Express actually trailed 9-2.

The club plated four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Then they got another four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth, capping it with a Chad Tracy walkoff single.

Starter Ryan Tucker (5.40 ERA/.288 BAA) threw 94 pitches in 4.1 innings. He allowed six runs on six hits, walking three and striking out three.

Michael Kirkman gave up two runs in two innings out of the bullpen. Hard-throwing righty Tanner Scheppers, who picked up the victory, yielded one run in 2.2 frames. Scheppers threw 44 pitches (31 strikes) and punched out two without issuing a free pass.

Scheppers has the following line in five appearances since returning to Triple-A––10.1 ip, 12 h, 2 r, 5 bb, 6 k.

Veteran catcher Kevin Cash played a big part in the comeback, as he went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.

Tracy (2/4, 2B, BB), Guilder Rodriguez (2/4, 2B) and Leonys Martin (3/5, 2B) all doubled. Martin added his eighth Triple-A stolen base.

Esteban German had two singles and a walk in five trips.

Left fielder Brad Nelson, the only Round Rock hitter who didn't reach base via hit or walk, had his 12-game hitting streak snapped.

Round Rock's division-clinching magic number is now five. Left-hander Martin Perez will take the mound against New Orleans at 6:05 p.m. Central on Sunday.

Player of the Game: C Kevin Cash
4 1 2 0 1 3 0 0 .252

AA: Frisco 3 – (@) Tulsa 4
L - Hankins (1-1)
27-27, 8.0 GB

The RoughRiders lost their fourth consecutive game on the current Northern Division road swing.

Derek Hankins, who got the start, was undone by a pair of home runs from Drillers first baseman Ben Paulsen. The veteran righty surrendered four runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings, throwing 74 pitches.

The Frisco offense scattered eight singles through the game. Renny Osuna (2/5) and Tom Mendonca (2/4) had two knocks apiece.

Jonathan Greene (1/3, HBP), Davis Stoneburner (1/4), Elio Sarmiento (1/2, BB) and Matt Leeds (1/3, BB) had the other hits.

Leeds, who joined the RoughRiders from the rookie-level Arizona League, drove in a pair of runs. Despite making the big jump, the 21-year-old is holding his own thus far, going 3-for-9 with a double, two walks, and one strikeout in three contests.

Lefty sinkerballer Richard Bleier threw 13 strikes out of 14 pitches in a scoreless inning. He worked around a pair of hits. Justin Miller (1.99 ERA/.194 BAA) retired all four batters he faced, striking out one.

Miller, 24, has yielded only 44 hits in 63.1 innings this season. He has 14 punchouts in 8.1 frames this month.

Player of the Game: 1B Matt Leeds
3 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 .333

A+: Myrtle Beach 7 – Kinston 2
W - Bell (3-1)
HR - Olt (11), Adair (4)
27-28, 2.5 GB

Third baseman Mike Olt (.292/.401/.531) made his presence felt in his first Carolina League game since June 6, as he went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, a walk, and three RBI.

The 22-year-old prospect suffered a broken collarbone in a home plate collision during that June 6 game.

While the offense rolled, left-hander Chad Bell (3.01 ERA/.248 BAA) matched a season best with seven innings pitched. He allowed one run, scattered six hits, walked one, and struck out eight.

Second baseman Travis Adair was 2-for-5 with a double and a solo home run. Vin DiFazio (2/4, 2B) also added his 13th two-bagger of the year.

Cleanup hitter and first baseman Andrew Clark reached base in all four of his plate appearances, getting one single and three walks. David Paisano had three singles in four at-bats.

Kansas State product Trevor Hurley surrendered a run in two innings to finish the win.

Player of the Game: 3B Mike Olt
3 1 2 1 1 3 1 0 .292

A: Hickory 10 – Lexington 3
W - Buckel (7-3)
SV - Monegro (1)
HR - Villanueva (17), Skole (7)
31-24, 1.5 GB

Jake Skole (.255/.388/.509 in August) fell just a single shy of the cycle on Saturday. The former first-round pick was 3-for-5 with a double (14th), a triple (5th) and a home run (7th). He also knocked in three runs.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva (.281/.343/.483) also had a big night, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run––his 17th of the season and third in his last three games.

The 20-year-old Villanueva currently ranks fifth in the Sally League with 78 runs batted in. His 17 round-trippers are tied for ninth.

Lefty Kevin Johnson got the start and gave up a run in two innings before Cody Buckel entered the game.

Pitching in relief, Buckel worked four frames and surrendered two runs. The young right-hander allowed two hits while walking three and striking out five.

Jose Monegro closed the game with three shutout innings, giving up two hits, walking one, and striking out five.

Monegro, 21, doesn't have an overpowering fastball, but his mix of funky stuff and mechanics have led to high strikeout rates at each of his minor league stops so far. He has 40 K's in 33 innings between Spokane and Hickory this summer.

Tomas Telis (3/4) had three knocks and a sacrifice fly while second baseman Odubel Herrera was 2-for-5 with his 24th double.

The two-through-five hitters in the Crawdads' order combined for 11 of the team's 12 hits. They were 11-for-18 with four doubles, a triple, and two home runs.

Player of the Game: CF Jake Skole
5 2 3 1 1 3 0 1 .269

SSA: Spokane 3 - Boise 7
L - S. Perez (5-3)
HR - Nicholas (6)
10-15, 6.0 GB

Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 6,823 at Spokane's Avista Stadium, the Indians fell behind 5-0 through three innings and Boise didn't look back from there.

Dominican right-hander Santo Perez worked those first three innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits. He walked two and struck out two.

Scuffling centerfielder Zach Cone (.199/.286/.319) doubled for his only hit in four at-bats. It was Cone's first knock in his last 10 games––since August 7. The extra-base hit was his first since he socked a pair of doubles on July 28.

Guillermo Pimentel raised his average to .296 with three singles in four at-bats. DH Brett Nicholas was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth of the summer.

Victor Payano was particularly impressive out of the bullpen, as he struck out two while sitting down all four batters he faced in 1.1 innings.

The 18-year-old Payano went through a rough patch as a starting pitcher but has pitched well since moving to the bullpen––8.2 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 4 bb, 9 k.

Player of the Game: RF Guillermo Pimentel
4 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 .296

RK: AZL Rangers 3 – (@) AZL Mariners 4
L - Dennis (2-1)
32-17, 9.0 GU

One day after the Surprise Rangers clinched the Arizona League's West Division, they dropped a walkoff finish to the second-place Peoria Mariners.

The Rangers took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but reliever Taylor Dennis surrendered two runs on three hits while recording just one out in the frame.

Sinkerballing starter Ezequiel Rijo (5.89 ERA/.344 BAA) actually pitched well, giving up one run in five innings. He struck out two and recorded 10 groundouts and only one flyout.

Luis Parra followed with three innings of one-run relief, fanning five without issuing a base on balls. The southpaw has 42 strikeouts in 41.2 innings this season.

The Rangers' offense got doubles from Rashad Harlin (1/2, 2B), Ryan Rua (1/4, 2B), Guy Edmonds (1/4, 2B) and Kendall Radcliffe (1/4, 2B).

First baseman Carlos Oropeza had two singles and two RBI in four at-bats. Speedy centerfielder Desmond Henry went 1-for-3 with a walk and his third stolen base.

Player of the Game: RHP Ezequiel Rijo
5.0 5 1 1 1 2 0 5.89

DSL: DSL Rangers 6 – (@) DSL Marlins 2
W - Grullon (2-0)
SV - de Jesus (1)
HR - Abreu (3)
41-30, 5.5 GB

The Dominican Rangers wrapped up their 2011 campaign with a victory over their complex mates, the DSL Marlins.

Cleanup hitter Esdras Abreu (.236/.317/.406) finished his year with a bang, going 2-for-5 with a solo home run––his third of the season. Over his final 10 games, the 19-year-old went 12-for-35 (.343) with five extra-base hits.

Dario Beltre (3.38 ERA/.201 BAA) didn't factor in the decision after yielding two runs––one earned––in four innings. The 18-year-old gave up three hits, walked two, and struck out three.

Geuris Grullon (1 IP), Luis de la Torre (2 IP) and Jorge de Jesus (2 IP) combined for five innings of one-hit, shutout ball to close the game in relief. De Jesus retired all six batters he faced, striking out two.

Second baseman Belarmino Campos (1/4, 3B, BB) tripled while DH Fernando Vivili (1/4, 2B) added his ninth double of the summer.

Centerfielder Anderson Jesus had two singles, a sacrifice fly, and two RBI in five plate appearances. Luis Cedeno (1/3, BB) and Aneudy Feliz (1/3, BB) singled and walked.

Talented third baseman Smerling Lantigua finished his first professional campaign with a .260/.329/.340 slash line in 54 contests and exactly 200 official at-bats. The 17-year-old Dominican Republic native will most likely attend fall instructional league in Arizona during September and October.

The Rangers finished in second place in their division, 5.5 games behind the DSL Cubs2.

Player of the Game: RF Esdras Abreu
5 2 2 0 1 1 0 1 .236

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