Rangers Minor League Roundup – 9/5

The Texas Rangers' four full-season affiliates finished their regular season on Monday and now prepare for the postseason, which begins on Wednesday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 7 – Albuquerque 5
W - Scheppers (2-0)
SV - Eppley (10)
87-57, 17.0 GU

Round Rock closed its regular season with five consecutive victories, including a four-game home sweep over second-place Albuquerque.

The Express wrapped up the 2011 campaign with an 87-57 mark, finishing 30 games above .500 and 17 games ahead of the Isotopes.

As the club geared up for the PCL postseason, Round Rock used six different pitchers in the nine-inning contest.

Right-hander Neil Ramirez got the start and worked a 1-2-3 first inning, getting one strikeout and throwing eight of his 12 pitches for strikes.

Douglas Arguello (2 IP) and Cody Eppley (1 IP) also worked scoreless ball during the game, and both hurlers got two strikeouts. Eppley earned his 10th save.

Leadoff man Matt Kata was 2-for-4 with his 30th double, a walk, and three runs scored. Fellow middle infielder Nick Green also went 2-for-4 with a double and a free pass.

Jose Ruiz (1/4, 2B) doubled while Joey Butler (1/3, BB), Chad Tracy (1/3, HBP) and Val Majewski (1/4) singled for the team's other hits.

Majewski's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh ultimately proved to be the game-winning hit, as Round Rock came back for four runs in that frame.

Hard-throwing reliever Tanner Scheppers blew the save in the seventh but ultimately picked up the victory after the comeback and a clean eighth.

Scheppers threw 41 pitches (23 strikes) in the two innings, giving up three runs on two hits, a walk, and two hit batters. He struck out two.

Entering the 2011 campaign, Scheppers figured to play a key role in the Rangers' bullpen at some point this season. But after beginning the year with a nerve issue in his back, he has struggled to find consistency at the Double- and Triple-A levels––43.2 ip, 41 h, 18 er (3.71 ERA), 21 bb, 44 k.

Round Rock will begin its best-of-five playoff series against the Omaha Royals on Wednesday at Dell Diamond. Right-hander Eric Hurley (8-3, 5.55 ERA) will face off against PCL Pitcher of the Year (and former Rangers hurler) Luis Mendoza (12-5, 2.18 ERA).

Player of the Game: 2B Matt Kata
4 3 2 1 0 1 1 1 .293

AA: Frisco 1 – Midland 4
L - Castillo (3-6)
39-31, 6.0 GB

Monday's Texas League regular season finale was started by a pair of 2011 draft picks. Right-hander Sonny Gray, Oakland's first-round selection, went up against Rangers' eighth rounder Kyle Hendricks.

Both hurlers threw well. Gray allowed a run on five hits in 3.2 innings, walking three and striking out three. It was the first run that Gray has allowed in five Double-A starts.

Hendricks threw 55 pitches (35 strikes) in three innings, yielding a run on four hits while walking two and striking out two. The Dartmouth product had posted the following line as a reliever at Spokane––32.2 ip, 20 h, 7 r (1.93 ERA), 4 bb, 36 k.

Third baseman Tom Mendonca (2/4, 2B) singled and socked his 27th double of the season. Elio Sarmiento (2/4), Renny Osuna (1/5), Mitch Hilligoss (1/4) and Mike Bianucci (1/4) had the club's only other hits.

After going 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts, Engel Beltre finished the season with a .231/.285/.300 slash line in 118 contests.

Righty relievers Tyler Tufts, Johan Yan and Justin Miller all worked one scoreless innings to close out the game. Miller was particularly impressive, throwing 11 of his 14 pitches for strikes and fanning all three batters he faced.

Miller finished the year with a 1.81 earned-run average and 77 strikeouts in 69.2 innings.

Player of the Game: RHP Justin Miller
1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – Salem 10
L - Kiker (3-4)
HR - Prince (8)
32-38, 6.5 GB

After Monday's loss to close the regular season, the Pelicans actually finished in the Carolina League Southern Division's cellar during the second half. It didn't matter, though, as the club won the first-half title and clinched a playoff berth.

Because of the playoffs coming up, left-hander Chad Bell worked only one inning. He tossed a perfect frame, getting one strikeout and lowering his ERA to 2.98.

Kasey Kiker followed by surrendering three runs in one-third of an inning. Then Ryan Kelly, who has pitched well of late, yielded five runs (three earned) in two frames.

At that point, it was largely out of hand for the Pelicans.

Jimmy Reyes (1.1 IP), Ryan Rodebaugh (1 IP) and Matt West (1 IP) kept the Red Sox off the board through the final few innings. West, who was making his High-A debut, gave up a leadoff single before getting two groundouts and a flyout.

Right fielder Jared Prince (.282/.376/.398) launched his eighth home run of the season and also walked for the 47th time––to go along with 47 strikeouts.

Travis Adair (1/2, 2B, HBP) and Leury Garcia (1/4, 2B) both doubled. Garcia committed his 37th error.

Third baseman Mike Olt went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He has struggled to get it going since returning from his broken collarbone. In 15 contests, he is only 10-for-51 (.196) but has three doubles, four homers, 13 walks, and 19 strikeouts.

Player of the Game: RF Jared Prince
2 1 1 0 1 2 1 0 .282

A: Hickory 4 – Greenville 11
L - Tepesch (7-5)
39-30, 0.0 GU

Although Nick Tepesch had an all-around promising first full season in professional baseball, he finished the campaign on a sour note with arguably his worst outing of the season.

Tepesch (4.03 ERA/.279 BAA) was battered for 10 runs––nine earned––in four innings. He gave up 11 hits (including two homers) while walking one and striking out three.

After Jose Monegro surrendered a solo homer in the fifth, the bullpen trio of Jorge Marban (2 IP), Francisco Mendoza (1 IP) and Andrew Doyle (1 IP) kept the Drive off the scoreboard.

Mendoza (2.78 ERA/.210 BAA) struck out one in a perfect frame, giving him 33 punchouts (with five walks) in 22.2 innings after his promotion to Hickory.

Switch-hitting prospect Tomas Telis (.297/.329/.430) had an up-and-down second half, but he finished on a strong note by going 3-for-5 with two doubles.

In 461 at-bats, the 20-year-old drew only 18 walks but struck out just 35 times.

Catcher Kevin Torres (3/5, 2B) and third baseman Christian Villanueva (3/5) also had three hits. Josh Richmond (1/5, 2B) added his 32nd two-bagger.

Player of the Game: DH Tomas Telis
5 2 3 2 0 0 0 0 .297

SSA: Spokane – Season Over
35-41, 9.0 GB

The Indians finished their regular season in third place in the Northwest League's East Division. The club didn't qualify for the postseason, as they were one game behind Boise for the division's wild card spot.

RK: AZL Rangers – Season Over
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.

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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