Rangers Minor League Roundup – 5/8

The Triple-A Round Rock Express pounded out 11 runs on 17 hits, including 10 extra-base knocks in Tuesday's series opener at Salt Lake. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 11 – (@) Salt Lake 9
W - Ramirez (4-2)
SV - Scheppers (6)
HR - Bianucci (7), Butler (5), Solarte (5), Brown (3), Nelson (2)
17-16, 3.0 GB

The Express began their west coast swing on Tuesday by pounding out 11 runs on 17 hits, including 10 extra-base knocks and five home runs. All nine starters hit safely in the game.

Third baseman Yangervis Solarte (.310/.369/.508) extended his hitting streak to 19 games, breaking Mark Saccomanno's 2008 Express franchise record. The switch-hitter was 2-for-6 with a solo home run, his fifth of the year.

In addition to his 15 extra-base hits in 30 games, Solarte has walked 11 times and struck out 11 times this season.

Joey Butler (.294/.404/.513) was perhaps the star of the game, as he went 3-for-4 with a double, a homer, a walk, and three total runs batted in.

DH Brad Nelson (2/5, 2B, HR) also doubled and homered. Mike Bianucci (2/5, HR) and Dusty Brown (2/2, HR, 3 BB) both went deep, as well. Brown, who now has a .333 batting average with a .462 on-base percentage in 16 games, reached base in all five of his plate appearances.

On the hitter-friendly night in Salt Lake, Round Rock starter Neil Ramirez (4.98 ERA/.237 BAA) battled his way through 5.1 innings to earn the victory. The 22-year-old allowed six runs on eight hits while walking three and striking out three.

Left-hander Ben Snyder (3.15 ERA/.278 BAA) retired all five batters he faced in relief of Ramirez to earn his first hold of the season. Yoshinori Tateyama then gave up three runs––all unearned––while working the eighth inning.

Closer Tanner Scheppers (2.40 ERA/.218 BAA) worked around a single in an otherwise clean, 15-pitch ninth inning. He struck out one.

Since permitting his last run on April 17, Scheppers has the following stat-line––8.0 ip, 5 h, 0 r, 0 bb, 10 k.

Luis Hernandez (2/6, 2B) and Matt Kata (1/5, 2B) both doubled once. Hernandez knocked in four runs. Leadoff man Julio Borbon singled, tripled, and walked in six trips.

After getting out to a very slow start, the 26-year-old Borbon is beginning to hit his stride offensively. He's 14-for-39 (.359) over his last nine contests, including a double, two triples, and a home run.

Player of the Game: RF Joey Butler
4 1 3 1 1 3 1 1 .294

AA: Frisco 9 – Midland 3
W - Pimentel (3-2)
HR - McGuiness (7), Buchholz (2)
21-11, 3.0 GU

Eight of the nine Frisco position players hit safely in Tuesday afternoon's game, and all nine of them reached base at least once.

Meanwhile, right-hander Carlos Pimentel (2.40 ERA/.184 BAA) allowed only one run in five innings despite walking four batters. The 22-year-old gave up just two hits and struck out three.

On the season, Pimentel has allowed 19 hits in 30 innings while walking 17 and striking out 31.

Corner infielders Chris McGuiness (1/3, HR, BB) and Alex Buchholz (1/4, HR) put the game out of reach with their back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning. McGuiness' was a two-run shot while Buchholz followed with a solo jack.

Catcher Jose Felix (.264/.256/.361) was 2-for-3 with a double––his fourth––and two RBI. Felix has multiple hits in each of his last three games.

Felix also stole his second base of the season, which is notable because he'd only swiped five total bases during his four-year professional career entering this season.

Engel Beltre (2/4), Val Majewski (2/4) and Jared Prince (2/4) all singled twice in four trips.

While the 22-year-old Beltre has a promising .266/.309/.484 slash line in 31 contests, he is also striking out at a 22.8 percent rate thus far––the highest of his career since rookie ball.

Middle infielders Jurickson Profar (1/4, BB, HBP) and Guilder Rodriguez (1/3, BB) each singled once and walked once. Profar extended his hitting streak to 19 games, and he has now reached base safely in 28 consecutive contests.

Lefty Joe Ortiz (1.93 ERA/.226 BAA) fanned both of the batters he faced on Tuesday, giving him 14 strikeouts (with one walk) in his first 14 Double-A innings.

After Corey Young permitted a run on two hits and two walks in 1.2 innings, Trevor Hurley recorded the final out of the game to preserve the victory.

Player of the Game: 1B Chris McGuiness
3 2 1 0 1 2 1 1 .241

A+: Myrtle Beach 0 – Carolina 6
L - Font (0-3)
15-15, 3.5 GB

Wilmer Font (5.40 ERA/.172 BAA) dealt another promising outing in his return from Tommy John surgery. The 21-year-old began his start on Tuesday with four perfect innings––retiring the first 12 batters he faced.

While Font ran into some trouble in the fifth, it was an all-around promising start on the heels of a game in which he'd tossed four shutout frames and reached 95 mph on the radar gun.

On Tuesday, Font worked 4.2 innings and allowed two runs on one hit and one walk. He struck out five. The big right-hander has the following stat-line over his last two starts––8.2 ip, 2 h, 2 r, 1 bb, 12 k.

Despite Font's strong start, the Myrtle Beach offense––which ranks last in the Carolina League with a .294 on-base percentage––reached base safely only five times in the nine innings while being shut out.

Second baseman Santiago Chirino (1/3, 2B) hit his fourth double while Christian Villanueva (2/4) singled twice and Odubel Herrera (1/3) had one knock.

After going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts on Tuesday, centerfielder Jake Skole saw his batting average fall to .219.

Long reliever Randol Rojas permitted two runs in 3.1 innings, giving up four hits and one walk. He struck out three.

Submarining righty Ben Rowen had a rare rough performance, as he permitted two runs on four hits and a walk in only one-third of an inning. Zach Osborne entered the game with the bases loaded and quickly induced a double play.

Player of the Game: RHP Wilmer Font
4.2 1 2 2 1 5 0 5.40

A: Hickory – (@) Kannapolis – PPD (Rain)
18-12, 4.5 GB

The Crawdads and Intimidators were washed out due to rain on Tuesday evening. The game will be made up later in the season. Hickory returns home to begin a four-game set against Savannah (20-12) on Wednesday.

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