L - Ramirez (6-7)
HR - Martin (5)
29-39, 11.5 GB
Scuffling Express starting pitcher Neil Ramirez (8.02 ERA/.285 BAA) was tagged for seven runs––six earned––over 5.2 innings on Thursday. He gave up a season-high nine hits while walking two and striking out three.
Through 14 starts this season, Ramirez has the second highest earned-run average of qualifying pitchers in the Pacific Coast League at 8.02. He's allowed the most runs (62) and most earned runs (60).
The 23-year-old prospect continues to struggle on the heels of a breakout 2011 campaign in which he posted a 3.12 ERA with 119 strikeouts in 98 innings at the upper levels. He has now yielded at least six runs in six of his last eight starts.
Hot-hitting centerfielder Leonys Martin (.344/.414/.547) went 1-for-4 with a home run, a walk, and three runs batted in. Martin has nine doubles, a triple, and five round-trippers in 31 games.
Luis Hernandez (2/5) and Brad Nelson (2/4, BB) each singled twice while Joey Butler (0/2, 3 BB) and Dusty Brown (1/2, 2 BB) walked multiple times.
Brown had a rough night behind the plate with two passed balls plus four wild pitches uncorked by Round Rock hurlers.
Julio Borbon, who was 0-for-4 with a base on balls, had his hitting streak snapped at 21 games––the second-longest in Express franchise history. His walk, however, was his first since May 9––three games before the streak began.
Sidearming righty Johan Yan continued to scuffle since his promotion to Triple-A, as he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits in 1.1 innings.
Neal Cotts finished the top of the ninth by getting the final two outs. He also walked a batter and threw just six of his 14 pitches for a strike.
Express manager Bobby Jones was ejected in the sixth inning after a questionable call at third base.
W - Murphy (3-7)
SV - Ortiz (4)
39-26, 5.0 GU
Thursday's victory over the Hooks put the RoughRiders just one win away from securing a first-half division title and a spot in the Texas League postseason.
Frisco starter Tim Murphy (6.51 ERA/.303 BAA) had some issues with rehabbing Astros slugger Carlos Lee, who socked a two-run homer off him in the first inning.
But Murphy settled down after that, yielding three runs in five innings of work. He permitted four hits while walking one and striking out one.
The 25-year-old southpaw, who is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, has allowed 66 hits in 55.1 innings this year, walking 22 and striking out 26. Although right-handers are batting a robust .329 against him, lefties are hitting only .208.
Murphy and the ‘Riders defeated fireballing Houston prospect Jarred Cosart. The Houston-area native threw 58 of his 107 pitches for a strike over six innings, giving up four runs.
DH Val Majewski (1/3, 2B, BB), catcher Jose Felix (1/3, 2B) and shortstop Jurickson Profar (1/3, 2B, BB) all doubled.
Profar, 19, has continued to hit well in June, posting a .313/.450/.417 slash line through 13 games. He has drawn 12 walks and struck out eight times.
First baseman Chris McGuiness (.286/.412/.571 in June) had a single and a walk in four trips.
After going 0-for-4 on Thursday, Engel Beltre is now batting just .179 this month. So far this season, his batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage have all progressively decreased with each month.
The ‘Riders bullpen was the star of the game, as Fabio Castillo (2 IP) and Joe Ortiz (2 IP) worked two shutout frames apiece to preserve the one-run victory.
Castillo retired all six batters he faced in two perfect innings. Ortiz gave up a hit and a walk while also fanning one.
The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Ortiz, who is only 22 years old, has struck out 28 and walked six in 28.2 Double-A innings.
L - Mendoza (2-4)
34-33, 7.5 GB
Shortly after the Rangers announced that Justin Grimm would be promoted to the major leagues to start Saturday's game against the Astros, Pelicans right-hander Nick Tepesch was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday.
Tepesch, as reported on Twitter by Eric Blumberg of KOMU TV in Columbia, Mo., earned a promotion to Double-A Frisco. He's expected to start for the ‘Riders on Friday.
That meant righty Kyle DeVore would get the last-second spot-start for Myrtle Beach on Thursday. The Sacramento City College product worked a career-high five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked two.
DeVore, 21, was the Rangers' 27th-round pick in last year's MLB Draft. He works with an 86-90 mph sinker to go along with a breaking ball and a changeup. While he has been working in long relief duty for the Pelicans––working 4.1 innings in his last relief appearance––he hadn't appeared in a game since June 6.
At the plate, the Myrtle Beach offense totaled four runs on eight singles.
Odubel Herrera (2/4), Teodoro Martinez (2/4) and Josh Richmond (2/3) all had two knocks apiece. Herrera stole two bases, giving him 11 on the year, while Richmond swiped his third.
Third baseman Christian Villanueva, who was 0-for-4, is now batting just .193/.220/.281 in 14 games this month.
On the flip side, Herrera has been the club's best performer in June, hitting .338/.386/.415 through 16 contests.
Righty reliever Francisco Mendoza suffered his second loss in as many appearances when he yielded a run in two innings.
Randol Rojas (1 IP) and Ben Rowen (1 IP) finished the game with a blank frame each.
While the 21-year-old Rojas has a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings at High-A, he has just as many strikeouts (14) as walks (14). Rojas evened the ratio at 1:1 after punching out two without issuing a walk on Thursday.
W - Eickhoff (7-4)
36-30, 7.5 GB
Although the Crawdads technically share a division with the Lakewood BlueClaws, the clubs don't play each other often, as they sit more than 600 miles apart.
Hickory played Lakewood (23-43) for the first time this season on Thursday and earned a dominant 7-1 win.
While the Hickory offense has posted a solid cumulative .271/.340/.412 slash line this season, Lakewood's hitters are batting just .220/.303/.323.
Facing the South Atlantic League's second lowest-scoring offense, Jerad Eickhoff (4.20 ERA/.248 BAA) turned in six scoreless innings. He scattered five hits, walked two, and punched out four.
The 21-year-old Indiana native has 60 strikeouts and 19 walks in 70.2 innings.
Left fielder Jeremy Williams (.301/.338/.492) raised his batting average above the .300 mark by going 3-for-5 with his 16th double.
Hanser Alberto (2/5, 2B) and Jhonny Gomez (1/4, 2B) also added a two-bagger apiece. Alberto currently ranks second in the Sally League with his .342 batting average.
Second baseman Drew Robinson had two singles, a walk, and a hit-by pitch in five plate appearances, bumping his on-base percentage to an even .500 this month. He also stole his eighth base.
Although the 20-year-old Robinson has spent most of his time at third base this season, he's started five of his last seven games at second base. Robinson hadn't played second since working with the rookie-level Surprise Rangers in 2010.
Leadoff man Chris Grayson had a single, two walks, and his 16th stolen base.
Andrew Faulkner (5.86 ERA/.306 BAA) tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning, getting two groundouts and a strikeout.
W - Sosa (1-2)
6-5, 1.0 GB
Venezuela native Kevin Sosa, who was born in January 1995, limited the DSL Pirates1 to a single unearned run in his five-inning start. He scattered six hits and struck out six without walking a batter.
While Sosa was pitching well, the Rangers' offense busted out for nine runs in the game's first four innings.
Veteran left fielder Alex Gonzalez went 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs batted in. The 20-year-old utility man played with the rookie-level Arizona Rangers in 2009 but has spent the past three seasons in the Dominican Summer League.
Leadoff hitter Eduard Pinto raised his batting average to .400 on the young campaign with two singles––plus a walk––in five plate appearances.
Belarmino Campos (1/3, 2B, 2 BB) and Ramon Urias (1/5, 2B) each doubled while Diego Cedeno (2/5) singled twice.
Coming off the bench late in the game, centerfielder Jose Santos singled and walked in his two trips.
Nerfy Nunez (2 IP) and Felix Carvallo (2 IP) each walked two in two innings of relief but kept the Pirates scoreless.
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