W - Perez (4-4)
HR - Tracy (24, 25), Ruiz (2)
83-57, 13.0 GU
Martin Perez appeared headed for one of ‘those' starts when he began the game with a 12-pitch walk, followed it with a four-pitch free pass, and ultimately surrendered four runs in the first inning.
But the 20-year-old southpaw settled down and did enough to earn the victory. After allowing the four runs, he retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced––giving up only two singles. He also threw 34 of his 47 pitches for strikes over the final four innings––following the 33-pitch first.
Overall, Perez yielded four runs in five innings. He allowed five hits, walked two, and struck out five.
The Express' offense bailed Perez out almost immediately, plating a total of six runs in the second and third innings.
DH Chad Tracy (.255/.333/.465) added to his single-season franchise RBI record by going 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs and a walk. With 25 home runs and 105 RBI, Tracy is nearing his career-highs (26; 107) that he set with Double-A Frisco in 2009.
First baseman Jose Ruiz (.241/.308/.414 in 16 games) had his best Triple-A contest yet, getting a double, a home run, and a free pass in five plate appearances.
Matt Kata (1/4, 3B, BB) belted his second triple while Brad Nelson (2/5, 2B) singled and doubled. Val Majewski (2/5) and Kevin Cash (2/4, BB) both singled twice.
Left-hander Michael Kirkman (5.07 ERA/.296 BAA) fanned five batters in 2.2 innings of hitless, scoreless ball in relief of Perez. He did walk three batters.
Since the beginning of July, Kirkman has 51 strikeouts (and 22 walks) in 34 innings.
Tanner Scheppers (3.57 ERA/.303 BAA) retired all four batters he faced, getting two strikeouts and throwing 11 of his 18 pitches for strikes.
Round Rock and Omaha will meet next week in the Pacific Coast League's American Conference Championship Series.
W - Bleier (7-8)
SV - Yan (2)
36-30, 6.0 GB
For the second consecutive night, Frisco came back with four eighth-inning runs. And once again, it was Renny Osuna doing the bulk of the damage.
After Osuna launched a grand slam on Wednesday, he belted a bases-clearing double––his 23rd of the season––to clear the bases and bring home three runs, giving the ‘Riders a 3-1 advantage.
Osuna later scored on a Mitch Hilligoss line-drive single into right field.
While the Frisco offense didn't get going until late in the contest, the pitching stayed strong throughout.
Starter Neil Ramirez (1.89 ERA/.194 BAA) had his sharp stuff on Thursday, as he induced 18 swings and misses while getting seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Ramirez allowed one run on three hits and two walks.
Relievers Richard Bleier (2.1 IP) and Johan Yan (2 IP) kept the Hooks off the scoreboard for the final 4.1 innings, getting three strikeouts and inducing eight total groundouts.
Yan, a 22-year-old sidearmer, has the following stat-line in Double-A––25 ip, 18 h, 1 er, 9 bb, 18 k.
Elio Sarmiento (2.4, 2B) singled and doubled while Jared Bolden (2/4), Davis Stoneburner (1/4, BB) and Jonathan Greene (1/3, BB) also reached base twice. Stoneburner stole two bases, giving him 18 on the year.
W - Hurley (2-4)
SV - McGuiness (2)
32-35, 4.5 GB
Miguel de los Santos (3.82 ERA/.195 BAA) struck out 11 batters in six innings. The southpaw allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk.
De los Santos now has 97 punchouts in 63.2 innings with the Pelicans, and he has struck out at least nine batters in five of his last six starts.
First baseman Chris McGuiness (.222/.332/.308), in just his fourth game back from injury, went 3-for-5 with a round-tripper and four runs batted in. While McGuiness launched 19 home runs last year, Thursday's shot was only his second in 50 games with Myrtle Beach this season.
Jared Prince (3/5) raised his average to .281 with three singles in five at-bats. Leury Garcia (2/4, BB) singled twice, walked, and stole three bases––giving him 30 swipes this year.
Mike Olt was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and two walks.
Reliever Trevor Hurley (2.48 ERA/.200 BAA) retired all nine batters he faced to finish the game and earn his fourth save. After fanning three, he now has 67 strikeouts in 54.1 innings this year.
L - Marban (1-6)
38-27, 0.5 GU
Thursday's matchup between Hickory starter Cody Buckel and Greenville's Brandon Workman matched a pair of pitchers with advanced curveballs against each other.
Both hurlers threw well––Buckel gave up one run in five innings, yielding three hits, walking three, and striking out eight.
The 19-year-old Buckel is up to 120 strikeouts in 96.2 innings with Hickory.
Leadoff hitter Jurickson Profar (.285/.390/.487) was 2-for-4 with his 36th double of the season, the Crawdads' only extra-base hit on the evening. Profar also stole two bases, giving him 22.
Kellin Deglan (3/4) and Josh Richmond (2/4) both singled multiple times. Richmond also had two steals.
The game slipped away from Hickory in the sixth and seventh innings, when reliever Jorge Marban surrendered five runs on seven hits in two innings, raising his ERA to 4.78.
Matt Thompson, appearing in his first game since August 18, had his season summed up during one short relief appearance. In the eighth, he retired the side in order with one strikeout. Then the ninth began as follows––walk, wild pitch, walk, walk.
Thompson ultimately gave up two runs in one-plus innings.
Virginia Tech alum Ben Rowen lowered his ERA to 2.05 with a scoreless frame.
W - Hanna (4-2)
SV - West (9)
14-22, 6.0 GB
Although Spokane won on Thursday, Boise's fourth consecutive victory kept the Hawks one game ahead of the Indians' pace for the Northwest League's final playoff spot. There are two regular season games remaining.
Lefty Chris Hanna (2.58 ERA/.227 BAA) may have begun the season in the Spokane bullpen, but he is finishing the summer as the club's ace. The 19-year-old hurler allowed only three hits in seven shutout innings on Thursday. He walked one and struck out seven.
Hanna, whose 2.58 ERA now ranks third in the circuit, has pitched particularly well in his last three starts––20.2 ip, 10 h, 1 r, 4 bb, 22 k.
Looking to finish a rocky debut summer on a high note, centerfielder Zach Cone (.199/.278/.335) went 2-for-3 with a double––his second extra-base hit in as many days.
Rougned Odor (2/4, 2B) and Yefry Castillo (1/3, 2B, BB) also doubled.
Hard-throwing righties Jerad Eickhoff and Matt West finished the game with one shutout inning apiece. Eickhoff struck out two while West fanned one in a 1-2-3 ninth.
38-18, 13.0 GU
For the second consecutive season, the rookie-level Surprise Rangers won the Arizona League's West Division title but fell in the league's semifinal game.
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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