L - Wells (0-2)
6-3, 0.0 GU
The Zephyrs plated three first-inning runs against Express starting pitcher Randy Wells, and that was all they would need to earn the 3-1 series-opening victory on Friday.
Although Wells didn't permit a run after the first inning, he pitched in and out of trouble throughout his five frames and didn't record a 1-2-3 effort.
Wells, who threw strikes with only 48 of his 84 pitches, gave up three runs on eight hits in five innings, walking two and striking out three.
At the plate, left fielder Joey Butler raised his early-season batting average to .375 with three singles in four at-bats.
First baseman Chris McGuiness (1/3, 2B) doubled and brought home his club's lone run. Engel Beltre (1/4), Aaron Cunningham (1/4), Jim Adduci (1/4), Robinson Chirinos (1/3), and Jose Felix (1/1) all singled once.
The early struggles continued for third baseman Mike Olt, as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Olt is now just 3-for-35 (.086) with four walks and 15 punchouts on the young season.
Sinkerballing lefty Richard Bleier made both his 2013 and Triple-A debuts by retiring all six batters he faced, striking out one. He threw 20 of his 25 pitches for a strike.
Nate Robertson, another southpaw, worked around a double while striking out the side in the eighth. He has tossed a scoreless frame in each of his first three appearances this season.
The Express were beaten by New Orleans long reliever Doug Mathis on Friday evening. A former Rangers hurler, Mathis pitched 3.2 innings of one-hit, shutout ball.
W - Ramirez (1-0)
HR - Hoying (1), Selen (1)
4-4, 2.0 GB
Entering Friday's game against the Travelers, Frisco had scored more than four runs just once in seven contests this season. The ‘Riders bats finally busted out on Friday, though, plating nine runs on 10 hits.
As the offense did its job, hard-throwing starter Neil Ramirez turned in a promising effort.
The 23-year-old Ramirez showed consistent mid-90s velocity––per a scout in attendance––while working 5.2 scoreless innings. He threw 84 pitches (59 strikes), yielding two hits, walking two, and striking out five.
Centerfielder Jared Hoying led the offense by going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Catcher Tomas Telis, who was 3-for-4 with a double, also drove home a pair.
The switch-hitting Telis, who moved up to fifth in the Frisco batting order on Friday, is now 6-for-17 (.353) with four doubles in five Double-A games.
DH Alejandro Selen socked a solo round-tripper for his only hit in four trips. Chih-Hsien Chiang (1/4, 2B) doubled while Brett Nicholas (1/3, BB) singled and walked.
After Ramirez left the game, the ‘Riders threw more plus velocity at the Travelers in the person of righties Roman Mendez and Wilmer Font.
Mendez hurled 2.1 blank innings, giving up a hit. Font pitched around a walk in the scoreless ninth inning, striking out one.
L - Mavare (0-1)
HR - Adams (1)
3-4, 2.0 GB
The Pelicans' bats were silenced by Red Sox lefty prospect Henry Owens on Friday evening. Owens limited Myrtle Beach to two runs over five innings of work.
Cleanup-hitting DH Trever Adams brought home both of those runs with his two-run shot in the fourth inning. He also walked once in four trips.
Shortstop Luis Sardinas (1/3, 2B, BB), first baseman Kevin Torres (1/2, 2B, HBP) and left fielder Zach Cone (1/2, 2B) all doubled. Cone left the game after injuring his foot on that two-bagger in the fourth inning.
The toolsy Sardinas is off to a strong start in the Carolina League, going 7-for-25 (.280) with a double, five walks, and six strikeouts. He won't turn 20 until mid-May.
Right fielder Royce Bolinger, who played extremely well this spring but has scuffled in the early going with the Pelicans, was 1-for-4 with a triple.
Myrtle Beach starter Victor Payano permitted two runs on three hits in four innings, walking one and striking out five.
Intriguing relief prospect Ryan Harvey kept the game knotted at two until late by working 2.2 innings of no-hit relief. He walked one and struck out two. But Arlett Mavare was tagged for five runs––three earned––in the game's final 1.1 frames.
Pelicans third baseman Drew Robinson saw his average fall to .095 after he struck out three times in four hitless at-bats. In his first six games, Robinson is now 2-for-21 with a double, three walks, and nine K's.
L - Stafford (0-2)
3-6, 3.0 GB
The Hickory Crawdads' lineup may be supremely talented, but it's also important to remember that they're very young. Over the last three nights, Hickory's hitters have combined to strike out 39 times.
The Hickory bats plated two runs and whiffed 11 times on Friday night.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Sam Stafford was betrayed by his own control, as he failed to escape the first inning. The former Longhorn issued four walks and uncorked a wild pitch in two-thirds of an inning. He didn't give up a hit but yielded one run.
Kannapolis expanded its lead against sidearming lefty Alexander Claudio, who was tagged for four runs on four hits and three walks in 3.1 innings.
After hard-throwing righty Jose Leclerc punched out four batters in two innings, Josh McElwee got clubbed for five runs––three earned––in two-thirds of an inning.
First baseman Preston Beck went 2-for-3 with a double and a free pass, raising his early-season average to .333. DH Jordan Akins was 1-for-4 with his second double of the year.
Nick Williams (2/5) singled twice and committed a fielding error.
Shortstop Luis Marte, who also had an error, singled twice and walked once in four trips.
It's been a slow start for right fielder Nomar Mazara, who saw his average fall to .097 after he went 0-for-4 on Friday. Mazara doesn't turn 18 until April 26.
Subscribe to LoneStarDugout.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and all premium content on LoneStarDugout.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.
Sample the LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.