Rangers Minor League Roundup – 7/24

High-A Myrtle Beach third baseman Christian Villanueva had a home run and five RBI on Tuesday while Single-A Hickory outfielder Jordan Akins belted two round-trippers. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 5 – Albuquerque 4 (11 innings)
W - Heilman (2-1)
43-60, 17.0 GB

The last-place Express and first-place Isotopes were locked in a 1-1 game heading into extra innings. The clubs traded a single run apiece in the 10th. Albuquerque then plated two in the top of the 11th before Round Rock rallied back for three and the walkoff victory.

Catcher Elio Sarmiento, who had entered as a defensive replacement the previous half inning, got the game-winning RBI single for the Express.

Rehabbing hurler Neftali Feliz began the game by throwing 34 of his 54 pitches for a strike over three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, walked one, plunked one, and struck out three.

Justin Grimm then followed by working 5.2 innings of one-run ball, though he had some issues with command. While Grimm allowed only two hits, he threw just 48 of 93 pitches for a strike, walked three, and struck out one.

Julio Borbon (3/5) and Brad Nelson (3/5) led the Round Rock offense with three singles apiece. Nelson also stole his second base of the season.

The 29-year-old Nelson has a season-best .306/.425/.597 slash line in 20 games this month. He's 17-for-40 (.425) in 12 contests since the Triple-A All-Star break.

Second baseman Yangervis Solarte, who rarely strikes out, whiffed three times in five hitless at-bats.

Veteran reliever Aaron Heilman earned the victory despite yielding two runs in the top of the 11th inning, raising his season ERA to 4.11.

Another rehabber, Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, went hitless in three at-bats during his second game with Round Rock.

Player of the Game: RHP Neftali Feliz
3.0 1 0 0 1 3 0 1.93

AA: Frisco 4 – (@) Midland 10
L - Boscan (4-4)
HR - Profar (13), Felix (6)
12-19, 9.0 GB

The ‘Riders surrendered double-digit runs for the third time in their last eight games on Tuesday.

On the positive side, switch-hitting shortstop Jurickson Profar (.286/.361/.489) launched his 13th home run of the season for his only hit in four plate appearances.

Catcher Jose Felix (.257/.258/.390) led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a home run––his career-high sixth––and two runs batted in.

The slash line on the 24-year-old Felix is correct––he has a .257 batting average with a .258 on-base percentage. An incredibly aggressive hitter with excellent hand-eye coordination, he almost never walks but also rarely strikes out. He's drawn two free passes but whiffed just 18 times in 220 plate appearances. That's a .09 percent walk rate and an 8 percent strikeout rate.

Starting pitcher Wilfredo Boscan surrendered four runs on four hits––including a pair of two-run homers––in his four innings pitched. He walked one and struck out four.

Midland put the game out of reach against recent Double-A call-up Joe Van Meter, who was tagged for six runs on six hits in 1.1 innings.

Zach Osborne (1.2 IP) and Ross Wolf (1 IP) kept the RockHounds off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.

Left fielder Jared Hoying (2/4, 2B) and second baseman Leury Garcia (2/4, 2B) both singled once and doubled once.

Player of the Game: C Jose Felix
3 1 2 0 1 2 0 0 .257

A+: Myrtle Beach 6 – (@) Salem 5
W - B. Henry (4-1)
SV - Rowen (11)
HR - Villanueva (10)
20-12, 3.0 GU

Pelicans third baseman Christian Villanueva (.275/.342/.415) is having a relatively quiet season in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League, but he's turning in his best stretch of the season in July.

On Tuesday, Villanueva recorded his third consecutive multi-hit performance by going 3-for-5 with a home run and five runs batted in. He's now hitting .295/.398/.462 in 22 games this month.

Although he isn't having a flashy season, it's also important to remember that Villanueva just recently turned 21, and his .415 slugging percentage leads the Pelicans.

One start after he'd taken a no-hitter into the eighth inning, righty Kyle Hendricks (2.82 ERA/.253 BAA) allowed the game's first six batters to reach base safely. He'd coughed up three runs before recording an out.

Hendricks eventually settled down and permitted only those three runs in 4.2 innings. He allowed nine hits, walked two, and struck out six.

Reliever Ben Henry, who picked up the ‘W', gave up two runs in 3.1 frames of long work. Ben Rowen worked around a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to post his 16th consecutive scoreless appearance and earn his 11th save.

Odubel Herrera (2/5), Tomas Telis (2/5) and Santiago Chirino (2/4) all singled twice. Herrera stole his 19th base while Telis swiped his seventh.

Player of the Game: 3B Christian Villanueva
5 1 3 0 1 5 0 0 .275

A: Hickory 3 – Delmarva 7
L - Martinez (5-5)
HR - Cone (12), Akins (7, 8)
18-14, 1.0 GB

Very talented but extremely raw outfielder Jordan Akins is one prospect who's had a disappointing season with Single-A Hickory, but he shined in a big way on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Akins, who's hitting just .199 in 90 contests this year, went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs. Another talented player, centerfielder Zach Cone, was 1-for-4 with his 12th round-tripper.

Crawdads starting pitcher Nick Martinez took a shutout into the fifth inning but failed to get out of the frame. In 4.2 innings, he surrendered three runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out five.

First baseman Trever Adams (2/5, 3B) singled and tripled while Luis Sardinas (2/5) and Chris Grayson (2/4) both singled twice. Sardinas stole his 25th base.

Grayson, 22, has slowed down since posting a .400 batting average in April. But he's picked up the pace of late by going 13-for-30 over his last nine games.

Right-handed relievers Arlett Mavare (2.1 IP) and Jose Monegro (2 IP) allowed two runs apiece out of the bullpen.

Player of the Game: RF Jordan Akins
4 2 3 0 2 2 0 0 .199

SSA: Spokane 3 – (@) Tri-City 2
W - Kendall (3-2)
SV - McElwee (4)
1-0, 0.0 GU

On Monday, the Indians wrapped up the Northwest League's first half with a circuit-worst 12-26 record while finishing nine games out of first place. The summer's second half slate opened on Tuesday, and Spokane began it with a victory.

The Indians claimed the win by scoring a run in the top of the ninth. Catcher Pat Cantwell (1/3) was plated on a one-out fielding error by the Tri-City shortstop.

Hard-throwing Spokane starter Connor Sadzeck (4.36 ERA/.197 BAA) began the game by giving up two runs in three innings. He yielded three hits, walked three, and struck out four. The erratic Sadzeck also plunked one and uncorked a wild pitch.

But three Indians relievers––Joseph Burns (3 IP), Cody Kendall (2 IP) and Josh McElwee (1 IP)––combined to keep the Dust Devils off the scoreboard through the final six innings.

The 22-year-old Kendall, the Rangers' eight-round pick in this year's MLB Draft, has impressed this summer in Spokane––21.1 ip, 19 h, 2 er, 7 bb, 14 k. A sinker specialist, he's induced nearly 2.1 groundouts per airout.

DH Joe Maloney (2/4, 2B), 3B Ryan Rua (1/4, 2B) and OF Royce Bolinger (1/5, 2B) all doubled. Second baseman Cam Schiller, who was 1-for-4, hit his first professional triple.

Player of the Game: LHP Joseph Burns
3.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 1.86

RK: Surprise Rangers 3 – Goodyear Reds 1
W - Slack (4-1)
SV - Shiver (4)
15-12, 1.0 GB

Coming into Tuesday's start, Rangers supplemental first-round pick Collin Wiles (7.32 ERA/.325 BAA) has surrendered at least two runs in each of his first six professional appearances.

The 18-year-old prospect turned in his best outing of the summer on Tuesday, however. Wiles worked a season-long 4.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out four.

Nick Williams (.348/.400/.511) was the star of the day for the offense, as he went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Through 21 games, Williams has six doubles, three triples, and a home run. He also stole his ninth base.

Left-handed reliever Ryne Slack, who picked up the victory, allowed one run in 2.1 innings after Wiles exited. Casey Shiver then worked two hitless frames to finish off the win.

Player of the Game: RHP Collin Wiles
4.2 3 0 0 1 4 0 7.32

DSL: DSL Rangers 9 – DSL Yankees2 4
W - Rodriguez (2-2)
28-15, 1.5 GU

Dominican Rangers starting pitcher Nerfy Nunez battled his way through six innings on Tuesday afternoon, yielding four runs on eight hits. He struck out four without issuing a walk.

Ricardo Rodriguez then finished the game with three innings of two-hit shutout ball, striking out two.

While the two hurlers threw relatively well, the offense pounded out nine runs on 10 hits––including four extra-base hits.

Veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez raised his batting average to .272 while going 3-for-4 with his fourth triple, a walk, and two RBI. DH Anderson Jesus, who played in his first game since July 13, had a double (his fourth) and a triple (his first) in four at-bats. On the season, the 18-year-old Jesus has a .259/.300/.365 slash line in 29 games.

Hot-hitting catcher Carlos Garay (1/4, 2B) doubled, left fielder Jose Santos (2/3, SAC) singled twice, and third baseman Elio Castillo had a single, two walks, and a hit-by pitch in his four trips.

Player of the Game: SS Alex Gonzalez
4 2 3 0 0 2 1 0 .272

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