Rangers Minor League Roundup – 4/20

Single-A Hickory prospect Nick Williams helped guide the Crawdads to victory on Saturday, as he belted two more home runs to give him seven in 14 contests. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 8 – New Orleans 7
W - Lindblom (2-0)
SV - Yan (1)
HR - Solarte (2), Chirinos (1)
10-7, 0.5 GU

The Express withstood a fierce New Orleans comeback on Saturday evening, winning even after the Zephyrs plated five runs in the top of the ninth inning.

Although righty Lisalverto Bonilla made things interesting by allowing those five runs in 1.2 innings, the Express got a strong start from former reliever Josh Lindblom.

Lindblom needed 95 pitches to complete five innings, but he permitted just a run on four hits. The former Dodgers and Phillies righty walked two and struck out seven.

Lindblom now has the following stat-line through four appearances (three starts)––17.0 ip, 10 h, 2 r, 4 bb, 18 k. In the unlikely event that Nick Tepesch is placed on the disabled list after Saturday's wrist injury, Lindblom may be the pitcher to get the call.

Bonilla, who was knocked around, needed a whopping 52 pitches for his 1.2 innings. He gave up four hits and walked three while fanning three.

At the plate, catcher Robinson Chirinos got the scoring started with his three-run homer in the first inning. Chirinos also doubled and walked in four trips.

The former Rays prospect is now 10-for-30 (.333) with three doubles and a home run in 10 games with the Rangers' organization. He has drawn three walks and struck out six times.

Switch-hitting left fielder Yangervis Solarte went 3-for-4 with a home run––his second––and two RBI.

Engel Beltre (2/5), Joey Butler (0/2, 2 BB), and Aaron Cunningham (2/3, BB) all reached base multiple times as well. Beltre's batting average continued to jump, going to .299 following Saturday's performance.

Top prospects Jurickson Profar (0/4, K) and Mike Olt (0/3, BB) both went hitless. Profar is now hitting .214 while Olt is batting just .138.

Sidearming righty Johan Yan earned his first save by working out of Bonilla's jam. Yan recorded the game's final out, but it wasn't before he gave up a hit and walked a batter.

Saturday's contest was played in a deliberate three hours and 26 minutes, and it featured a whopping 357 pitches thrown between the two clubs.

Player of the Game: C Robinson Chirinos
3 2 2 1 1 3 1 1 .333

AA: Frisco 0 – (@) Corpus Christi 1
L - Pimentel (2-1)
9-6, 0.0 GU

The RoughRiders wasted an excellent effort from starter Carlos Pimentel, who lost despite working seven extremely strong innings.

Frisco's offense was shut out and held to two hits overall. They didn't get a base runner until centerfielder Jared Hoying (1/3, 2B) doubled with two outs in the seventh inning.

The 23-year-old Hoying has certainly been a bright spot in the Frisco lineup thus far this season. Through 14 games, he is 17-for-57 (.298) with three doubles, a triple, and three home runs––that's good for a .298/.355/.544 slash line.

Alex Buchholz (1/3) had the team's only other hit.

Third baseman Alejandro Selen took the hat trick after whiffing in all three of his plate appearances.

Pimentel pounded the strike zone on Saturday, needing just 86 pitches to complete his seven innings. The Dominican righty permitted a run on three hits, walking one and striking out seven.

Pimentel through four appearances (three starts)––18.0 ip, 16 h, 6 r, 4 bb, 21 k.

Jake Brigham worked a scoreless eighth while throwing only nine pitches, including eight strikes.

Player of the Game: RHP Carlos Pimentel
7.0 3 1 1 1 7 1 3.00

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – (@) Carolina 2 (7 innings – Game 1)
W - Asher (1-1)
SV - Mavare (2)

Myrtle Beach starter Alec Asher filled up the strike zone in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, throwing 60 strikes and only 23 balls in five innings. The Florida native permitted two runs on four hits in five innings, striking out a pair without walking a batter.

Venezuelan reliever Arlett Mavare sat down all six batters he faced––striking out one––to earn his second save.

Asher's four appearances (three starts) this season have yielded a mixed bag of results. His overall numbers thus far––14.2 ip, 16 h, 8 er, 4 bb, 11 k.

Leadoff man Chris Grayson, who is beginning to heat up, raised his batting average to .250 by going 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. He also stole his fourth base.

Kellin Deglan (1/3), Preston Beck (1/2, BB), Kevin Torres (1/3), and Jake Skole (1/3) singled for the club's other knocks.

Player of the Game: LF Chris Grayson
2 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 .250

A+: Myrtle Beach 6 – (@) Carolina 3 (7 innings – Game 2)
W - Harvey (2-0)
SV - Edwards (2)
HR - Adams (3), Torres (3)
8-7, 1.0 GB

In the nightcap, Myrtle Beach finished off the doubleheader sweep over Carolina and inched to within a game of first place.

The Pelicans fell behind 3-0 early but plated two runs each in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.

The biggest blasts were two-run homers from cleanup-hitting DH Trever Adams (1/4, HR) and first baseman Kevin Torres (2/2, HR, BB).

Torres, who reached base in all three of his plate appearances, is now 9-for-28 (.321) with a double and three long balls in nine games this season.

Jake Skole (1/3, 2B) doubled while Luis Sardinas (1/3), Rougned Odor (1/4), Edwin Garcia (1/3), and Pat Cantwell (1/2, BB) all singled.

Odor brought home two runs. He's now hitting .245 after getting out to a hot start.

The Mudcats took an early lead against spot starter Joe Van Meter, who was tagged for three runs on seven hits in three innings.

Righties Ryan Harvey (2 IP) and Jon Edwards (2 IP) then kept the Mudcats at bay by posting scoreless ball over the final four frames.

Harvey, who worked around three walks and a hit batter in his two innings, threw only 26 of his 50 pitches for strikes.

Edwards pitched around a single and a walk in his two shutout innings.

The erratic Edwards stands 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and features a fastball that regularly touches 96 mph. His stat-line through five appearances––9.1 ip, 7 h, 3 er, 10 bb, 9 k.

Player of the Game: 1B Kevin Torres
2 1 2 0 1 2 1 0 .321

A: Hickory 10 – Charleston 9
W - McElwee (2-0)
HR - Williams (6, 7), Rua (3, 4)
9-7, 0.5 GB

It's a bit difficult to succinctly sum up Saturday's contest between the Crawdads and RiverDogs.

Hickory overcame an early 8-2 deficit, earning the victory after plating eight runs over their final three at-bats. The Crawdads won the game in walkoff fashion on centerfielder Lewis Brinson's infield single. Brinson was 1-for-5 with a walk.

The nine-inning game was played in three hours and forty-four minutes. Hickory's six pitchers combined to allow nine runs on 11 hits, walking 11 and striking out 13.

Dominican right-hander Kelvin Vasquez got the start and coughed up five runs in just two-thirds of an inning. He allowed only one hit––a home run––but walked four and uncorked a wild pitch.

Despite the iffy pitching performances, the Crawdads offense busted out to get four home runs.

DH Nick Williams (.300/.338/.700 in 14 games) was 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI.

The 19-year-old Williams now leads the South Atlantic League with seven round-trippers in those 14 contests. He has has just one double and one triple–-with seven home runs. The outfielder has drawn three walks and whiffed 19 times.

Cleanup-hitting second baseman Ryan Rua (.255/.359/.600 in 15 games) added a pair of solo shots in five trips, giving him four total homers. Rua has posted multi-hit efforts in each of his last four games.

Catcher Jorge Alfaro (2/4, BB) and left fielder Jordan Akins (2/5) both singled twice.

The 21-year-old Akins, who stole his fourth base in as many tries, extended his hitting streak to nine games. Through 14 overall games, he is now 18-for-55 (.327) with three doubles and two long balls.

Alfaro is now hitting .321. He holds a 12-game hitting streak.

Joey Gallo (0/3, 2 BB) walked twice and struck out once in five trips.

Crawdads lefty reliever Ryne Slack gave up just an unearned run in 2.1 innings, yielding two hits, walking two, and striking out four. Hard-throwing righty Jose Valdespina was then knocked for two runs on five hits in 1.2 innings.

After Jose Leclerc (1.1 IP) and Coby Cowgill (2 IP) held Charleston off the scoreboard for 3.1 frames, Josh McElwee gave up a run in the top of the ninth. McElwee got stuck with a blown save but won the game when the Crawdads walked it off on Brinson's single.

Player of the Game: DH Nick Williams
5 3 3 0 2 4 0 1 .300

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