L - Bonilla (4-5)
HR - Butler (7), Olt (4)
37-31, 0.0 GU
The Isotopes broke through with a five-run outburst in the 11th inning, racing past the Express in a game that took more than four hours to complete.
With Round Rock still searching for a fifth starter, reliever Evan Meek got the nod on Thursday, making just his second start since pitching in High-A in 2006. Meek threw just 39 of his 81 pitches for strikes, giving up four runs (two earned) in 3.2 innings. He allowed three hits and walked five.
Right-hander Jake Brigham (7.90 ERA/.294 BAA) helped keep the Express in the game with 4.1 shutout innings of long relief. He scattered three hits, walked one, and fanned two while throwing just 43 pitches.
At the plate, left fielder Joey Butler (1/4, HR, BB) and third baseman Mike Olt (2/5, HR) both hit solo home runs.
Although Olt has been slow to get going in Round Rock since coming back from the vision issues, he has been better at the plate in his last five games––6-for-17 with two doubles, two home runs, two walks, and four strikeouts.
Right fielder Jim Adduci (.257/.348/.413) singled twice and walked twice in five plate appearances. The 28-year-old speedster is hitting a season-best .318 through 11 games this month.
Engel Beltre (.273/.342/.354) went 0-for-2 but walked three times and was hit by a pitch. Through 65 contests this season, Beltre has drawn 26 walks––matching his total in 133 games at Double-A Frisco last year and just two away from his career best.
Reliever Lisalverto Bonilla struck out the first four batters he faced on Thursday and tossed two scoreless innings before things blew up in the 11th.
Bonilla came unglued in the frame, giving up five runs––only two earned, though largely due to his throwing error. Overall, he gave up those five runs on three hits in three innings, walking two and striking out five.
The 22-year-old prospect has a strange stat-line this season. In 38 innings, he has yielded 39 hits, walked 17, and struck out a whopping 52 batters. But he also has a 6.16 ERA and has coughed up seven home runs.
In a recent interview, Express pitching coach Brad Holman talked about Bonilla's excellent fastball-changeup combo while also saying that he's still learning how to command and attack hitters with it.
L - Pimentel (7-3)
HR - Buchholz (5)
37-29, 4.0 GB
Although right-hander Carlos Pimentel has been one of the Texas League's best starting pitchers this season, he was battered for four home runs in five innings on Thursday.
Pimentel (3.60 ERA/.217 BAA) gave up a season-high seven runs on 10 hits in five innings, walking two and striking out four. He surrendered two of those four round-trippers to Astros top prospect Jonathan Singleton, who went 3-for-3 and also walked twice.
Rehabbing Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler batted leadoff and played at DH on Thursday. He went 0-for-4, striking out two times.
Third baseman Alex Buchholz (.273/.315/.429) provided Frisco's only run with his solo home run in the fifth inning. He was 1-for-4.
Chih-Hsien Chiang (2/4, 2B) singled and doubled while Brett Nicholas (1/4), Ryan Strausborger (1/3), and Hanser Alberto (1/3) singled for the club's only other hits.
Tall right-hander Phil Klein followed Pimentel with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, working around a hit and two walks. The 24-year-old righty, who stands 6-foot-7, has the following stat-line in Double-A––24.0 ip, 13 h, 4 er, 20 bb, 32 k.
Coming off the disabled list, Randy Henry threw just 10 of his 22 pitches for strikes but didn't permit a run. He recorded two outs, gave up two hits, and walked a batter.
Ben Rowen lowered his ERA to 0.58 with 1.1 shutout frames. The submarining reliever hasn't permitted a run in his last 17 appearances, a streak that spans 17.1 innings.
Rowen's stat-line during the current streak––17.1 ip, 10 h, 0 r, 3 bb, 17 k. He is inducing nearly three groundouts per airout on the season.
W - Eickhoff (5-3)
SV - Harvey (3)
37-28, 2.0 GU
Since dropping 12 of 13 and being outscored 69-27 during that span, the Pelicans have bounced back to win seven consecutive contests, outscoring their opposition 39-16.
The hot streak comes in timely fashion, as the Pelicans' magic number is down to two. Myrtle Beach currently leads their division by two games; they have four first-half games remaining, while Winston-Salem will play three more.
On Thursday, starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff (3.52 ERA/.253 BAA) paced the Pelicans by tossing seven shutout innings. He yielded only four hits while walking two and striking out four.
The 22-year-old righty has been a workhorse this season, logging at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts. He currently leads the Carolina League with 79.1 frames on the year through 13 starts.
The Pelicans got a double from catcher Pat Cantwell (1/3, 2B, BB), second baseman Rougned Odor (1/3, 2B, BB), and third baseman Drew Robinson (1/2, 2B, 2 BB).
Odor's two-bagger was his team-leading 19th of the year, and he also stole his 16th base in 20 tries. In the field, he committed his 11th error.
Reliever Will Lamb permitted a run on three hits and a walk while working the eighth inning. Fastball-slider specialist Ryan Harvey then came on to work a perfect ninth, inducing three consecutive groundouts.
Harvey has allowed only six earned runs in 30.2 innings this season, though he has also walked eight and fanned just three over his last 10 appearances (12 innings).
W - Parra (2-1)
SV - Kendall (6)
HR - Gallo (21), Rua (19)
38-29, 1.0 GU
The Crawdads moved their first-half clinching magic number to two with Thursday's 5-4 victory over Delmarva.
Once again, the Hickory offense was led by scorching-hot third baseman Joey Gallo, who went 3-for-4 with his 15th double, his 21st home run, and two RBI.
Gallo's 21 round-trippers lead all of minor league baseball. He has popped seven over his last six contests and, despite a lofty 37 percent strikeout rate, is hitting .245/.337/.585 on the season.
The 19-year-old prospect is also hitting .352/.386/.926 in 13 games this month. He batted just .208 in May.
Not to be outdone, second baseman Ryan Rua (.247/.358/.592) went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer––his 19th––and a walk.
Ronald Guzman added two singles and a double in four at-bats, bumping his average to .394 through 10 games.
On the mound, left-hander Luis Parra earned his second victory after yielding two runs on seven hits in five innings. He walked one, plunked one, and struck out two.
The 21-year-old Dominican lefty has pitched well in six starts for Hickory––29.0 ip, 24 h, 4 er, 11 bb, 22 k.
After lefty Joe Burns permitted two runs in two innings, sinkerballer Cody Kendall slammed the two with two blank frames to earn his sixth save.
W - Rodriguez (2-0)
10-1, 3.5 GU
The Dominican Rangers improved to 10-1 on the season with an 8-5 victory over the Mets2.
Starting pitcher Kevin Sosa was impressive on the mound once again, tossing four innings of one-hit ball, yielding one run. He walked two and punched out six.
At the plate, the Rangers plated eight runs on nine hits and nine walks.
Left fielder Carlos Arroyo went 3-for-5 with his fourth double, two RBI, and his fifth stolen base. Diego Cedeno (1/2, 2B, 3 BB) and Brallan Perez (2/3, 2B) also doubled.
Perez, a 17-year-old second baseman, is off to a crazy-hot start through 10 games, going 15-for-27 (.556) with two doubles, nine walks, and two strikeouts. He has a .649 on-base percentage in the short sample.
DH Todd McDonald, an Australian prospect who played his extended spring training in the States, batted leadoff and went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks.
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