L - Balester (1-1)
6-4, 0.0 GU
Round Rock dropped Saturday's series opener in New Orleans despite a decent effort from hard-throwing righty Collin Balester.
Balester limited the Zephyrs to three runs on six hits in 6.1 innings, walking two and striking out four. He threw 57 of his 90 pitches for a strike.
The 26-year-old Balester, who split last season between Triple-A and the major leagues with Detroit, was making his second start for the Express on Saturday. He'd pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since making five starts for Triple-A Syracuse in 2010.
Although former Round Rock hurler––and current Zephyrs bullpen arm––Zach Phillips surrendered a run in his lone inning of work, he earned the victory.
The Express' hitters scattered seven singles through the game, coming from seven different players. Nobody reached base more than once.
Catcher Robinson Chirinos, who was 1-for-4, had his team's lone RBI.
Mike Olt's struggles continued, as he whiffed twice in two official at-bats. He was intentionally walked in his other plate appearance.
To say Olt has scuffled at the plate out of camp would be an understatement. The 24-year-old prospect is hitless in eight of his 10 games this season, going just 3-for-37 (.081) with five walks and 17 punchouts.
W - Pucetas (2-0)
HR - Hoying (1), Buchholz (1), Strausborger (1)
5-4, 2.0 GB
Saturday's game between Frisco and Arkansas was played in an ultra-efficient two hours and seven minutes.
Veteran right-hander Kevin Pucetas was a big reason for the quick pace, throwing just 83 pitches over 7.1 shutout innings. Pucetas scattered five hits––all singles––while walking one and striking out one. He also induced 15 groundouts in the start.
Third baseman Alex Buchholz flashed some power by going 2-for-3 with a double and a two-run homer. Right fielder Jared Hoying (1/3, HR, BB) and centerfielder Ryan Strausborger (1/2, HR, BB) also went yard.
Lefty reliever Jimmy Reyes retired the game's final five hitters over 1.2 innings, throwing strikes with all 14 of his pitches.
W - Eichkoff (1-1)
HR - Adams (1)
4-4, 1.0 GB
Coming off a poor first outing in which he was clobbered for seven runs in two innings, righty Jerad Eickhoff was much better on Saturday.
The 22-year-old prospect began the game with five scoreless frames, giving up three hits, walking two, and striking out five.
At the plate, Myrtle Beach did all of its damage in the fifth inning––plating all seven of its runs.
Second baseman Rougned Odor reached base three times in four trips, getting a double and two free passes. Centerfielder Royce Bolinger (1/4, 2B) also added a two-bagger.
DH Trever Adams socked a two-run homer in that fifth inning.
After going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk, left fielder Jake Skole is hitting just .115 on the young campaign.
Hard-throwing righty reliever Jon Edwards closed out the contest with two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out three.
W - Smith (2-0)
SV - Kendall (1)
HR - Gallo (3), Maloney (1)
4-6, 3.0 GB
All nine members of the Crawdads' lineup collected at least one hit in their 9-6 victory over Kannapolis on Saturday.
Third baseman Joey Gallo flashed his massive raw power by clubbing a solo shot in the ninth inning. He also walked once, struck out twice, and committed a throwing error.
DH Joe Maloney added a two-run shot for his only hit in four trips.
David Lyon (1/3, 2B, BB), Lewis Brinson (1/3, BB), and Luis Marte (2/3) all reached safely twice. Marte also added a sacrifice bunt.
After Hickory starter Eric Brooks was tagged for five runs in 3.2 innings, the bullpen posted solid work to preserve the victory.
Righty Tyler Smith picked up his second victory by permitting just an unearned run in 3.1 frames. He gave up two hits, walked one, and struck out four.
Ryne Slack worked around a hit and two walks to post a scoreless eighth inning, striking out the side. Fresno State product Cody Kendall, who was promoted to Hickory on Saturday, finished the game with a blank ninth.
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