W - Mills (6-0)
HR - Solarte (8), Beltre (2)
34-26, 1.0 GU
Round Rock moved into first place by itself with Thursday's series-opening victory over Iowa.
The Express got excellent pitching from starter Brad Mills (2.87 ERA/.211 BAA), who opened the game with five innings of one-hit shutout ball. The changeup specialist struck out three and walked two.
Sidearming right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama (2.2 IP) and lefty Nate Robertson (1.1 IP) finished off the shutout by combining for four blank innings.
At the plate, leadoff hitter Engel Beltre (.282/.340/.372) went 1-for-2 with a solo home run and three walks. The 23-year-old Beltre has now drawn 21 walks through 58 Triple-A games this season. His career high is only 28 free passes––done in 118 games at Double-A Frisco in 2011.
Beltre is also beginning to heat up of late, hitting .333/.432/.556 over his last 10 contests.
Cleanup-hitting shortstop Yangervis Solarte (.302/.344/.453) added his eighth home run––a three-run shot––for his lone hit in four at-bats.
Solarte's round-tripper came off Iowa starting pitcher and former Rangers hurler Guillermo Moscoso.
Aaron Cunningham (2/4, 2B) singled and doubled while Robinson Chirinos (2/4, BB) and Joey Butler (1/3, BB) also reached base multiple times.
W - Pucetas (7-4)
SV - Rowen (7)
34-25, 2.0 GB
The ‘Riders are making a late run for a division title as the first half winds down, moving to within two games of first-place Corpus Christi with another win on Thursday.
Veteran starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas moved to 7-4 this season after yielding two runs on seven hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Relievers Arlett Mavare (1 IP), Richard Bleier (1 IP), and Ben Rowen (1 IP) each worked a scoreless frame to finish the ‘W.'
Rowen, who now has a 0.64 ERA, hasn't permitted a run in his last 14 appearances. His stat-line during that stretch––14.2 ip, 9 h, 0 r, 2 bb, 16 k.
First baseman Brett Nicholas raised his batting average to .303 with two singles in four at-bats.
Teodoro Martinez (1/3, 2B, BB) doubled, walked, and stole his 13th base. Guilder Rodriguez (1/3, BB) added a single and a free pass.
30-28, 0.0 GU
The Pelicans and Nationals were suspended due to rain in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday. Just 1-12 in their last 13 games, Myrtle Beach can't catch a break. The club had tied the game with two outs in the ninth and had a man on first when the game was suspended.
The Pelicans are now tied with Winston-Salem atop the division.
Before the rains came, left-hander Victor Payano came off the disabled list and hurled five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked three, and struck out six.
Centerfielder Chris Grayson went 2-for-4 with a double, the club's only extra-base hit. Rougned Odor (2/3, BB) and Preston Beck (2/4) both singled twice. Third baseman Drew Robinson went 0-for-1 but walked twice.
Odor also stole a base, his 15th in 19 attempts.
W - Faulkner (1-0)
HR - Rua (16, 17), Williams (10), Marte (3)
33-25, 1.0 GU
The hard-hitting Crawdads scored 15 runs and clocked four more round-trippers on Thursday evening. They now lead their division by a full game.
Second baseman Ryan Rua (.247/.361/.598) grabbed the South Atlantic League home run lead with two home runs, giving him 17 through 54 games this season.
The 23-year-old Rua went 3-for-4 with two homers and six RBI. Rua's previous career best in long balls came last season, when he hit seven in 74 games at short-season Spokane.
Rua's middle infield partner, shortstop Luis Marte (.241/.269/.328) was 2-for-5 with a home run––his third––and five RBI. Nick Williams was 1-for-6 but hit his 10th round-tripper and drove home three.
Through 30 games this season, the 19-year-old Williams has 10 home runs and 32 RBI. He has an impressive .302/.326/.619 slash line.
Joey Gallo (2/6, 2B) singled, doubled, stole his sixth base, and struck out three times.
Leadoff man Nick Vickerson was 1-for-2 with a whopping four walks. First baseman Ronald Guzman (2/4, BB) added two singles and a walk. Lewis Brinson was also busy in his five plate appearances, going 1-for-3 with two free passes and two strikeouts.
Lakewood finished the game with catcher Josh Ludy on the mound. Throwing a low-to-mid 70s fastball with a knuckleball, he walked one in a scoreless inning.
Crawdads starting pitcher Andrew Faulkner limited Lakewood to two runs on six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
The 20-year-old Faulkner has the following stat-line through five appearances (four starts) for Hickory––25.1 ip, 26 h, 8 er (2.84 ERA), 10 bb, 17 k.
Sam Stafford finished the game by yielding two runs in two innings.
W - Rodriguez (1-0)
5-0, 1.0 GU
The Dominican Rangers remained unbeaten behind the power of a 10-run outburst in the seventh inning.
That 10-run inning was a very Dominican Summer League-like frame, including one single, two doubles, two hit-by pitches, five walks, and one error.
The Rangers got strong production from the top two spots in their order, getting a single, a double, and three RBI out of both left fielder Carlos Arroyo (2/5, 2B) and shortstop Luis Terrero (2/4, 2B).
Through five games, the 17-year-old Terrero is 9-for-20 (.450) with two doubles, five walks, and only one strikeout.
Centerfielder Jose Gonzalez (2/3, 2 BB) singled twice and walked twice. Kevin Mendoza (0/2, 3 BB) drew three walks while Diego Cedeno (0/3, 2 BB) and Rodrigo Ayarza (1/2, 2 BB) also walked multiple times.
Overall, the Rangers drew 11 walks.
Starting pitcher Francisco Aquino yielded a run on three hits in four innings, walking three and striking out four.
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