Rangers Minor League Roundup – 5/27

The Triple-A Round Rock Express scored a franchise-record 19 runs on Sunday while Double-A Frisco third baseman Mike Olt went 3-for-4 with a home run. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 19 – (@) Nashville 3
W - Kirkman (4-1)
HR - Bianucci (10), Butler (9), Nelson (5)
22-29, 7.0 GB

The Express set a franchise record with 19 runs scored on 24 hits during Sunday's series finale. After plating nine runs in the first three innings, Round Rock posted a nine-spot in the eighth inning alone.

They batted around three times in the game––in the first, second, and eighth innings.

First baseman Mike Bianucci (.274/.335/.480) had perhaps his biggest game of the season, going 3-for-5 with a double, a three-run homer, and a walk. He had five RBI on the afternoon.

Not to be outdone, designated hitter Brad Nelson (.284/.353/.437) was 3-for-6 with a homer and a career-high six runs batted in. The veteran left-handed hitter had five RBI through the first two innings.

Joey Butler (.306/.417/.528) also singled twice and went deep, going 3-for-5 with a walk and three runs batted in. Although Butler has 13 doubles and nine round-trippers this season, the extra-base hit was his first since May 17––a nine-game drought.

All 10 position players who appeared for Round Rock on Sunday had at least one hit. Seven of them had multiple knocks. Five had at least three hits.

The Express were 13-for-23 with runners in scoring position, and they had so many base runners that they stranded 12 despite scoring 19 times.

Left fielder Ryan Spilborghs raised his Round Rock average to .398 by singling four times––and walking once––in six plate appearances. Matt Kata (4/6) also had four hits.

Luis Martinez (1/4, 2B, BB) and Yangervis Solarte (1/6, 2B, BB) each doubled while Tom Mendonca (2/5) and Luis Hernandez (2/7) singled twice.

Perhaps the lone negative news of the day was that leadoff man Julio Borbon left the game with an undisclosed injury after beating out an infield single in the second inning. Still, Borbon extended his hitting streak to 15 games.

Round Rock did much of its damage against Brewers prospect Wily Peralta, who was tagged for eight runs in just 1.2 innings as Nashville's starting pitcher.

Lost in the phenomenal offensive performance was the start by left-hander Michael Kirkman (5.57 ERA/.265 BAA), who limited the Sounds to one run in six innings. Throwing 94 pitches (54 strikes), Kirkman allowed three hits, walked three, and struck out six.

Righties Aaron Heilman (1 IP) and Sean Green (1 IP) worked one scoreless inning apiece in relief of Kirkman.

Tanner Scheppers threw 17 of his 23 pitches for a strike in the ninth inning––and struck out the side––but he also yielded two runs on four hits.

Scheppers has 25 strikeouts and four walks in 23.1 Triple-A innings this season.

Player of the Game: 1B Mike Bianucci
5 1 3 1 1 5 1 1 .274

AA: Frisco 5 – (@) Northwest Arkansas 9
L - Brigham (2-2)
HR - Olt (11)
29-20, 4.0 GU

For the second consecutive game, RoughRiders third baseman Mike Olt (.291/.399/.549) was 3-for-4 with a home run and three runs batted in.

The 23-year-old prospect has now recorded multiple hits in four of his last five games, and he has posted a .333/.443/.575 slash line through 23 games this month. Olt has 16 walks and 21 strikeouts during May.

The recent hot streak has brought Olt up to seventh in the Texas League in on-base percentage (.399), eighth in slugging percentage (.549), and fourth in OPS (.948). His 11 home runs rank second among players who are currently in the circuit.

Shortstop Jurickson Profar, who went 1-for-4, extended his streak of reaching base via hit, walk, or hit-by pitch to 45 games with his single on Sunday.

Frisco starting pitcher Jake Brigham (3.59 ERA/.225 BAA) cruised at times but scuffled at others. Overall, he yielded seven runs (six earned) in 5.1 innings. He gave up seven hits while walking one and striking out three.

Brigham surrendered a two-run homer to rehabbing infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, who was 2-for-3 for the game. Naturals left fielder Carlo Testa fell a single short of the cycle, as he had a double, a triple, a home run, and five RBI on the night.

Reliever Trevor Hurley (3.70 ERA/.253 BAA) allowed two runs on four hits in 2.2 innings to finish the game.

Aside from Olt, the Frisco hitters scattered six singles. Engel Beltre (2/5) had a pair of knocks while second baseman Leury Garcia (1/3, BB) singled, walked, and stole his third base.

More known for his defensive tools and speed than his bat, the 5-foot-7 Garcia is hitting .310/.341/.464 in his first 22 Double-A games. He batted .256/.306/.342 at High-A Myrtle Beach in 2011.

Player of the Game: 3B Mike Olt
4 1 3 0 1 3 0 1 .291

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – Wilmington 1
W - Rojas (4-0)
SV - R. Henry (6)
24-23, 4.0 GB

The Pelicans produced all three of their runs in the bottom of the third inning, led by Josh Richmond's (1/3, 2B) fifth double of the season.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Richmond has intriguing tools in his good athleticism out of a strong frame, a bit of raw power, and a decent arm from the outfield. But––in part due to pitch recognition issues––he's hitting just .150/.242/.301 in 39 games this season.

Starting pitcher Wilmer Font (3.48 ERA/.163 BAA) worked around a season-high six walks in four innings on Sunday, as he limited the damage to just one unearned run. Font gave up two hits and struck out five.

Despite Sunday's control issues, Font has pitched exceedingly well in his last five starts––22.2 ip, 9 h, 4 er, 9 bb, 29 k.

Randol Rojas (1.23 ERA/.220 BAA) followed with three shutout frames of long relief to earn his fourth High-A victory in eight appearances. The 21-year-old Venezuelan worked around three hits while walking one and fanning one.

Closer Randy Henry (0.43 ERA/.203 BAA) punched out a pair and gave up a hit in two blank innings to earn his sixth save.

A former Orioles prospect, the 22-year-old Henry has surrendered one earned run in 21 innings this season.

Catcher Tomas Telis (.316/.341/.354 in May) raised his season average to .283 with two singles––including a sacrifice bunt––in four plate appearances.

Edwin Garcia (2/3), Odubel Herrera (1/4), Jared Hoying (1/3, BB) and Christian Villanueva (1/3, HBP) had the team's other hits.

Player of the Game: RHP Randol Rojas
3.0 3 0 0 1 1 0 1.23

A: Hickory 4 – Lexington 6
L - Perez (2-4)
23-25, 12.0 GB

Crawdads starter Santo Perez (6.09 ERA/.272 BAA) took a no-hitter through 3.1 innings on Sunday, but things unraveled for him in the fourth inning, when he yielded four runs on three doubles.

Overall, Perez worked into the seventh inning but gave up five runs––four earned––in 6.1 frames. He allowed six hits, walked one, and struck out eight.

Perez, 22, may ultimately be a better fit for a relief role. Although the 6-foot-5 hurler's stuff doesn't stand out as a starting pitcher, he can flash a lively low-to-mid 90s fastball with a slider and splitter in short bursts out of the bullpen.

Streaking DH Zach Cone (.284/.333/.506 in May) went 2-for-5 with his 12th double of the season. Much like last summer, Cone has been highly streaky thus far with Hickory.

Third baseman Drew Robinson (2/4, 2B) and catcher Kevin Torres (2/4, 2B) also singled and doubled. Robinson is hitting a solid .308/.444/.523 this month.

Shortstop Hanser Alberto raised his batting average to .341 with three singles––plus two RBI––in five trips. Jordan Akins (2/4) and Trever Adams (2/4) both singled twice.

Another streaky-but-toolsy prospect, Akins went 3-for-34 with one walk and 17 strikeouts during a recent 10-game stretch. Since then, he is 9-for-21 with two doubles, a home run, three walks, and three strikeouts.

Player of the Game: 3B Drew Robinson
4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 .289

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