Rangers Minor League Roundup – 4/20

For the second consecutive night, Myrtle Beach leadoff hitter Odubel Herrera came through with a game-winning hit in the top of the ninth inning. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at Friday's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 2 – Omaha 1
W - Hankins (1-2)
SV - Scheppers (4)
6-10, 6.0 GB

Although the Storm Chasers had at least one base runner in eight of the nine innings on Friday, a quartet of Round Rock pitchers were able to limit the damage to just one run. Omaha stranded 13 runners in the game, going 0-for-10 with men in scoring position.

Making his first start of the season, left-hander Michael Kirkman kept Omaha off the scoreboard despite throwing only 27 of his 50 pitches for strikes. Kirkman tossed three scoreless innings, giving up two hits, walking three, and striking out two.

Kirkman took the rotation spot vacated by righty Mark Hamburger, who moved to the bullpen. The 25-year-old began his regular season with two rough outings in relief, but he has been better his last four times out––7.2 ip, 7 h, 2 r, 4 bb, 6 k.

Long reliever Derek Hankins threw only 23 of 51 for strikes, but he also tip-toed around three walks in three innings, allowing one run. Hankins gave up two hits without recording a strikeout.

The Express pitchers combined to issue eight walks in the first eight innings.

Sinkerballing righty Sean Green worked around two walks and a hit in two shutout frames.

As it turned out, closer Tanner Scheppers had the club's best command on Friday, as he threw 12 of 15 for strikes in a blank ninth inning. Two men reached on a single and an error, but he ended the game by inducing a groundout with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Scheppers earned his fourth save.

Second baseman Yangervis Solarte (.222/.290/.333) was the hero at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a double and a run batted in.

After Omaha plated a run in the top of the fifth, Round Rock answered with two in the bottom of the frame on the Solarte double and a Dusty Brown (0/3) groundout.

Right fielder Joey Butler (1/3) and first baseman Mike Bianucci (1/3) had the team's only other hits. Butler extended his hitting streak to 11 games, giving him a .276/.373/.466 slash line on the young campaign.

The first five hitters in Round Rock's batting order combined to go 0-for-16 without a free pass. Included in that was leadoff man Julio Borbon's 0-for-4 performance. He's now just 1-for-19 over his last five games, dropping his average to .210 in 15 contests.

While Leonys Martin is hitting a solid .344/.420/.508 in 14 games, he was caught stealing for the fifth time on Friday. The 24-year-old has been successful on just three of his eight stolen base attempts this year.

Player of the Game: 2B Yangervis Solarte
3 0 3 1 0 1 0 0 .222

AA: Frisco 0 – (@) Corpus Christi 6
L - Brigham (1-1)
9-5, 1.0 GU

The ‘Riders were shut down by Astros pitching prospect Brett Oberholtzer on Friday evening. The left-hander hurled seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out eight.

Frisco starting pitcher Jake Brigham (3.57 ERA/.254 BAA) was strong for six innings but struggled when he came back out for the seventh. Overall, Brigham worked 6.2 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out five. Three of his runs allowed came in the seventh inning.

Brigham threw 89 pitches, including 57 strikes, in the 6.2-inning start.

Diminutive lefty Joe Ortiz came on after Brigham and surrendered a run on three hits in 1.1 innings. He allowed both inherited runners to score in the seventh.

The ‘Riders offense had only six hits in the game and went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Leadoff hitter Engel Beltre (.283/.339/.585) was 1-for-4 with his fourth triple of the season. He also picked up an outfield assist by gunning down a runner at third base.

Jose Felix (1/3, 2B) and Brad Hawpe (1/4, 2B) both doubled for their only hit of the night.

Scuffling outfielder Ryan Strausborger was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts on Friday. After starting the season on a tear, he's 1-for-20 with 12 strikeouts over his last five games.

Player of the Game: CF Engel Beltre
4 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 .283

A+: Myrtle Beach 7 – (@) Carolina 5
W - Rowen (2-0)
SV - B. Henry (1)
8-6, 1.0 GU

The Pelicans came back to win it in the top of the ninth for the second consecutive day. Once again, the team did so behind the clutch hitting of leadoff man Odubel Herrera.

Herrera's two-run double in the top of the ninth put Myrtle Beach on top for good. He was 2-for-6 with two doubles for the game.

After Herrera's two-bagger, Myrtle Beach native Ben Henry worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth with one strikeout to earn just his second professional save.

Kyle Hendricks (3.52 ERA/.305 BAA) got the start and allowed three runs in five innings, scattering eight hits (seven singles) while striking out seven. He didn't walk a batter.

In his first 15.1 innings, Hendricks has yielded 18 hits, walked four, and struck out 14.

Cleanup-hitting catcher Tomas Telis (.300/.340/.580) continued to flash some power, as he went 3-for-5 with two doubles. The 20-year-old switch-hitter has three doubles, a triple, and three home runs in his first 13 contests.

Teodoro Martinez (1/4, 2B, BB) doubled and stole his second base. Centerfielder Jake Skole had three singles in five trips, raising his average to .222.

Second baseman Edwin Garcia singled once and walked twice in his five plate appearances.

Ben Rowen (2.89 ERA/.161 BAA) picked up the victory in long relief, permitting two runs in three innings. The submarining righty needed just 34 pitches––throwing 25 strikes––to complete the three frames.

Player of the Game: SS Odubel Herrera
6 1 2 2 0 2 0 1 .263

A: Hickory 5 – (@) Savannah 2 (13 innings)
W - Klein (1-0)
10-5, 0.5 GB

The Crawdads played an all-around strange 13-inning contest on Friday. Hickory picked up the victory despite the fact that its offense struck out a whopping 23 times in the 13 frames.

After a lot of rough all-around performances through 12 innings, the offense finally broke through for three runs (without striking out) in the top of the 13th.

Starting pitcher Will Lamb yielded one run in 2.2 innings, but he worked around two hits and three walks while striking out one.

The rest of Hickory's pitchers missed plenty of bats themselves––the five combined for 15 punchouts in the game.

Arlett Mavare (3.86 ERA/.275 BAA) punched out five in 2.1 hitless, scoreless frames. He walked one. Then left-hander Andrew Faulkner worked three innings of one-run ball, giving up two hits, walking one, and fanning two.

Nick Martinez (4.50 ERA/.250 BAA) followed by striking out five batters in three scoreless frames. Martinez, who allowed one hit without walking a batter, has 20 strikeouts and two walks in his first 10 innings this season.

Tall righty Phil Klein finished the game and earned the victory with two blank frames, walking one and striking out two.

Right fielder Jordan Akins began his night by punching out in each of his first five plate appearances, but he began the rally in the 13th by leading off the frame with a double.

Kellin Deglan (3/6, 2B), Chris Grayson (2/6, 2B, BB), Zach Cone (1/6, 2B), Jeremy Williams (1/6, 2B) and Drew Robinson (1/6, 2B) also doubled.

Grayson and Cone struck out four times apiece while Williams and Robinson both had three whiffs.

Shortstop Hanser Alberto raised his average to .373 and his on-base percentage to .421 with two singles and two walks in his seven trips.

Player of the Game: RHP Nick Martinez
3.0 1 0 0 0 5 0 4.50

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