Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/26

Hickory's Ben Henry dealt seven strong innings in Lakewood on Friday before the two clubs fled town in preparation for Hurricane Irene. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 0 – (@) Albuquerque 9
L - Hurley (0-2)
80-54, 13.0 GU

Friday's player of the game for Round Rock––shown below––says it all for the Express. Outfielder Val Majewski pitched a scoreless ninth inning, getting one strikeout and throwing 11 of his 15 pitches for strikes. He was the club's most effective player during the game.

Starter Eric Hurley (4.76 ERA/.304 BAA) was knocked around for eight runs––seven earned––on 10 hits in five innings pitched. He threw 103 pitches while walking three and striking out two.

After showing improvement in July, Hurley has experienced a couple of rough starts this month. He has a 6.59 earned-run average in five starts while walking 15 and striking out 15 in 28.2 innings.

Hard-throwing reliever Tanner Scheppers needed 56 pitches to complete two innings. He gave up a run on one hit and fanned four, but he also walked four batters.

Leonys Martin (1/4, 2B), Taylor Teagarden (1/3) and Guilder Rodriguez (1/2, BB) had Round Rock's only hits of the game.

Player of the Game: RHP Val Majewski
1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00

AA: Frisco 4 – San Antonio 3
W - Bleier (6-7)
32-28, 6.0 GB

Robbie Ross (2.78 ERA/.225 BAA in five Double-A starts) worked seven innings for the third time in his last four starts. On Friday, he allowed three runs (two earned) while scattering seven hits. The 22-year-old walked one and struck out seven.

Ross is no-doubt pitching well since his promotion to Double-A. In 32.2 innings, he has yielded 27 hits, walked only three, and fanned 30. But his home runs allowed highlights some of the differences between the pitcher-friendly Carolina League and the Texas League.

The southpaw permitted only one home run in his 123.1 innings at High-A Myrtle Beach this season. While he's pitching well for Frisco, he has given up one round-tripper in each of his five Double-A starts.

Left fielder Mitch Hilligoss, who was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, had Frisco's only extra-base hit of the game.

The other knocks came from Jose Felix (2/4), Renny Osuna (1/2, 2 BB), Tom Mendonca (1/4), Davis Stoneburner (1/4) and Engel Beltre (1/4).

Richard Bleier continued to pitch well since moving into the ‘Riders bullpen. He finished the game with two shutout frames, giving up a hit, walking one, and striking out two.

After tying the game with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Mike Bianucci won it in the ninth by drawing a bases-loaded walk for the literal walkoff victory.

Player of the Game: LHP Robbie Ross
7.0 8 3 3 1 7 1 2.78

A+: Myrtle Beach 0 – (@) Winston-Salem 3 (7 innings – Game 1)
L - Bell (3-2)

Chad Bell (3.13 ERA/.254 BAA) suffered the loss despite picking up the six-inning complete game. The 22-year-old southpaw allowed three runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out four.

Bell, who began the season in the Pelicans' bullpen, has now worked at least six innings in each of his last five starts. He has the following line in six outings since becoming a full-time rotation member––37 ip, 36 h, 12 er, 5 bb, 33 k.

Bell didn't get much support from his offense––the Myrtle Beach hitters were a combined 1-for-22 in the seven-inning affair. The lone knock was a fifth-inning line-drive single from catcher Zach Zaneski.

Jared Prince (0/2, HBP) and Andrew Clark (0/2, HBP) were the only other Pelicans to reach base, and they both did so after being hit by a pitch. Myrtle Beach didn't advance a runner past first base in the game.

Player of the Game: LHP Chad Bell
6.0 7 3 3 1 4 0 3.13

A+: Myrtle Beach 1 – (@) Winston-Salem 6 (7 innings – Game 2)
L - Kiker (3-3)
28-33, 5.5 GB

The offense stayed mostly dormant in the nightcap. Despite getting eight singles––and out-hitting the Dash––Myrtle Beach stranded 11 runners on base and scored only one run.

Left-hander Kasey Kiker made the spot start and got things out to an interesting beginning in the first. He walked the bases loaded but also struck out the side. After a 1-2-3 second frame, things unraveled for Kiker in the third.

Kiker ended up permitting five runs in 2.1 innings. He gave up two hits, walked six, and struck out four.

The former first-round pick has a 6.50 earned-run average and has walked 49 batters (while fanning 53) in 44.1 innings this season with the Rangers' High-A affiliate.

Jared Prince (2/3, BB), Andrew Clark (1/2, 2 BB) and Vin DiFazio (2/4) all reached base multiple times.

Reliever Ryan Rodebaugh (5.79 ERA/.259 BAA in 14 High-A innings) fanned four batters and walked two in a pair of hitless, scoreless innings.

Player of the Game: RF Jared Prince
3 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 .276

A: Hickory 2 – (@) Lakewood 1
W - Henry (6-2)
SV - Marban (3)
35-25, 0.0 GU

Playing at Lakewood––which is located on the Jersey Shore––the Crawdads and Blue Claws got a game in before Hurricane Irene promises to pummel the area later this weekend.

Hickory and Lakewood will take Saturday and Sunday off before playing doubleheaders on both Monday and Tuesday.

The two clubs were scheduled for a five-game series because they are actually in the same division. But Hickory only makes one trip north each year, as the two clubs are a whopping 600-plus miles away––approximately 10 hours and 30 minutes without traffic.

Starting pitcher Ben Henry (2.58 ERA/.193 BAA) hurled a season-high seven innings and held Lakewood to one unearned run. He allowed three singles, walked two, and struck out one.

Entering this season, Henry had pitched parts of four years in professional baseball, making only one spot-start (2008) with a full-season club. The righty had a 5.88 ERA in 52 innings for Spokane last summer, but he has taken major strides this season.

Henry, 22, has the following line for Hickory this year––59.1 ip, 40 h, 17 er, 28 bb, 63 k.

Christian Villanueva (2/4, 2B), Josh Richmond (1/3, 2B, BB) and Odubel Herrera (1/4, 2B) all doubled once.

Florida International product Jorge Marban picked up the save with two shutout innings, giving up two hits, walking one, and fanning one.

Player of the Game: RHP Ben Henry
7.0 3 1 0 2 1 0 2.58

SSA: Spokane 0 - (@) Eugene 1
L - Hanna (3-2)
12-19, 5.0 GB

Chris Hanna (2.92 ERA/.241 BAA) was a very hard-luck loser on Friday. He fell to 3-2 on the season despite surrendering one run in seven innings. Hanna yielded five singles while walking one and striking out seven.

The South Carolina native struck out the side in the first inning but battled his own control, as he issued a walk, hit a batter, and uncorked two wild pitches. He didn't allow a runner to advanced past first base in his final six frames.

Hanna is pitching extremely well in his last eight appearances––30.1 ip, 19 h, 4 er, 9 bb, 29 k. His 2.92 earned-run average ranks fifth in the Northwest League and tops on the Spokane squad.

Unfortunately for Hanna, Spokane's offense mustered only two singles in the game. They came from Yefry Castillo (1/3) and Nick Vickerson (1/2).

Closer Matt West (3.52 ERA/.238 BAA) surrendered a leadoff double in the eighth before striking out the next three batters. He has 31 strikeouts and one walk in 23 innings this summer.

Player of the Game: LHP Chris Hanna
7.0 5 1 1 1 7 0 2.92

RK: AZL Rangers – OFF
35-18, 11.5 GU

The Rookie Rangers got their final day off of the regular season on Friday. The division champions have three regular season games remaining, and they return to action on Saturday against the Surprise Royals.

DSL: DSL Rangers – Season Over
41-30, 5.5 GB

The Dominican Rangers failed to qualify for the Dominican Summer League playoffs despite posting a strong 41-30 record. The club finished in second place, 5.5 games behind the DSL Cubs2.

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