The PCL defeated the IL, 3-0, on Wednesday evening at Buffalo's Coca-Cola Field. Round Rock right fielder Joey Butler, the only Express player in the game, entered late in the contest and struck out in his lone plate appearance.
9-9, 4.0 GB
The ‘Riders were off on Wednesday. They travel to Corpus Christi to begin a four-game weekend series on Thursday evening.
W - Jackson (1-1)
HR - Villanueva (8)
14-6, 2.5 GU
Pelicans starting pitcher Luke Jackson turned in arguably his best start of the season on Wednesday, working a career-high seven innings. He limited the Dash to one run on four hits while walking one and striking out six.
Jackson began the game by retiring the first 11 batters he faced before running into some two-out trouble in the fourth inning. But he quickly settled back in and cruised through the seventh.
The 20-year-old righty has now made four starts since his promotion to High-A––22.0 ip, 24 h, 12 r (4.91 ERA), 8 bb, 17 k.
The Myrtle Beach offense provided plenty of support for Jackson in the early innings, as they plated six runs through three frames.
Third baseman Christian Villanueva (.274/.338/.414) added a solo home run in the seventh inning, his eighth round-tripper of the season.
DH Tomas Telis (2/4, 2B) singled and doubled while Hanser Alberto (2/4) and Brett Nicholas (2/3, SF) both singled twice.
Reliever Ben Henry (3.38 ERA/.196 BAA), who's been throwing his fastball between 92-95 mph in recent outings, fanned the side while working around a hit in a scoreless eighth inning.
The 23-year-old Myrtle Beach native has permitted only 27 hits in 40 innings this season, walking 19 and striking out 37.
Matt West, coming off his most erratic outing of the season, closed out the victory with a 1-2-3 ninth that included two groundouts and a strikeout.
Pelicans pitching coach Brad Holman talked about West and his efforts to get back on track in this recent interview.
L - Payano (5-4)
HR - Cone (11)
14-6, 0.0 GU
Although the Crawdads plated three runs on three hits in the top of the first inning, Lakewood's pitching staff shut them out the rest of the way, limiting Hickory to just one more hit.
Meanwhile, left-hander Victor Payano (4.16 ERA/.232 BAA) was touched up for a career-high nine runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Payano, 19, gave up a three-run homer in the first inning followed by two doubles in the second. He also uncorked three wild pitches in the abbreviated start.
The BlueClaws scored nine runs on 13 hits and six walks, but they were also just 4-for-21 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners on base.
Centerfielder Zach Cone (.269/.329/.478) put Hickory on top early with a long two-run homer, his 11th in 65 contests. He also walked.
Drew Robinson socked an RBI double in the first inning but left the game after injuring his finger while diving back into second base on a pickoff attempt.
Trever Adams (1/3, BB) and Jorge Alfaro (1/4) had the club's only other hits.
Right-handed relievers Santo Perez (2.2 IP), Taylor Dennis (1 IP) and Chance Sossamon (1 IP) kept Lakewood off the scoreboard after Payano exited in the fourth inning.
L - Brooks (0-1)
8-18, 8.0 GB
Spokane dropped its sixth consecutive game on Wednesday, falling to 8-18 and eight games out of first place.
As a group, the Indians currently rank last in the eight-team Northwest League in batting average (.208), on-base percentage (.294), and slugging percentage (.306). The pitching staff is seventh with a 4.07 earned-run average.
Spokane's offense was held to one run on four hits during Wednesday's series opener, and they went 0-for-14 with men in scoring position while stranding 13 runners.
Starting pitcher Eric Brooks worked the first three innings, yielding two earned runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out four. Venezuelan righty Richard Alvarez followed by giving up two runs on five hits in three innings.
A pair of hard-throwing relievers, Jon Edwards (2 IP) and Carlos Melo (1 IP) finished the game with shutout ball. Edwards walked two but struck out three. Melo walked a pair in his inning but struck out the side.
The 21-year-old Melo features a fastball that touches up to 99 mph on occasion. That also comes with some control issues, as he's walked eight and fanned seven in his first seven innings.
Edwards, a converted outfielder, has yet to surrender an earned run in 5.2 innings for Spokane, but he's walked 11 while striking out eight.
L - Schwendel (1-1)
HR - Gallo (8), Williams (1)
10-7, 0.0 GU
Facing A's prospect Michael Ynoa for the second time within three weeks, the Rangers touched up the right-hander for three runs in 1.1 innings this time around.
Slugging third baseman Joey Gallo (.315/.500/.870) socked a two-run homer off Ynoa in the first. He was 2-for-3 with a double, that homer, and yet another walk.
Through his first 17 professional games, Gallo has four doubles, a triple, and eight home runs with 20 walks and 16 strikeouts.
Myrtle Beach hurler Roman Mendez made his second rehab start for the rookie club. On Wednesday, the 20-year-old allowed two runs on two hits in three innings, walking one and striking out one.
Kent State product Ryan Bores, making his professional debut, worked a perfect inning with one strikeout in relief of Mendez.
But the Rangers' pitching staff fell apart afterwards, as Alexander Claudio (2/1 IP) and Paul Schwendel (1.2 IP) gave up two runs apiece.
Another rehabber, Hickory southpaw Greg Williams, pitched around two hits while fanning one in a blank top of the ninth.
Left fielder Nick Williams (.375/.412/.547) launched a solo home run––the first of his professional career––for his only hit in five trips. Ronald Guzman (2/5, 2B) singled and doubled while Luis Marte (2/4) singled twice.
Right fielder Nomar Mazara walked twice in four hitless plate appearances. Although he's just 12 for his first 57 (.211) this summer, Mazara has worked 16 walks with 23 strikeouts.
W - Rodriguez (1-2)
SV - Leclerc (1)
22-12, 0.0 GU
Since starting the season 6-8, the Dominican Rangers have gone 16-4.
The club got plenty of production from the bottom of its order on Wednesday. Nine-hole hitting catcher Oliver Caraballo (1/3, 3B, BB) tripled and walked in four trips. He drove home two runs and had the team's only extra-base hits.
Elio Castillo (2/3, BB), Carlos Garay (2/3, BB) and Rodrigo Ayarza (2/4) all singled twice.
Cleanup-hitting right fielder Diego Cedeno was 0-for-1 but walked twice and was also hit by a pitch.
The Rangers actually fell behind early but came storming back with a six-run outburst in the sixth inning.
Starting pitcher Nerfy Nunez surrendered five runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings, walking three and striking out five. Ricardo Rodriguez, who earned the victory, gave up one run in 2.1 innings.
The Rangers' most impressive hurler of the day was righty Jose Leclerc. The Dominican Republic native fanned five batters in two scoreless innings, working around two hits allowed.
The 18-year-old Leclerc has been the Rangers' most consistent pitcher this summer––24.2 ip, 18 h, 4 er (1.46 ERA), 6 bb, 20 k.
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