Minor League Roundup - 4/10

Saturday was another dominant evening for the Hickory pitching staff, as four pitchers combined to strike out 14 Hagerstown hitters. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action.

AAA: Oklahoma City 7 - Albuquerque 6
W - Ramirez (1-0)
SV - Strop (1)
HR - Tracy (1, 2), Smoak (2)
2-1, 0.0 GU

Left-hander Michael Kirkman had a rocky beginning to his first Triple-A outing, but in the end, he settled down and pitched well.

Kirkman pitched five innings [69 pitches] and yielded four runs on six hits, walking zero and fanning four. The 23-year-old gave up three doubles in the first and a leadoff homer in the second, but he then retired 10 consecutive batters. Kirkman recorded three of his final four outs on strikes.

Cleanup hitter and designated hitter Chad Tracy had a big night, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and four runs batted in. Both round-trippers were crushed over the left-center field wall, with the second going over the home bullpen.

First baseman Justin Smoak was 2-for-4 with a double and a solo home run, a line shot directly down the left field line.

Though Smoak is only hitting .250 through his first three games, he looks much more comfortable at the plate than he did last season. The top prospect is consistently putting together solid at-bats and squaring balls up. He hasn't been fooled by offspeed stuff and he has rarely looked defensive at the plate thus far.

Mitch Moreland (1/3, 2B, BB) and Emerson Frostad (2/4, 2B) both doubled once. Moreland played in right field and made an excellent sliding catch near the foul line.

Second baseman Hernan Iribarren singled twice and stole his first base of the season.

Hard-throwing righty Pedro Strop earned his first save of the season by fanning three in 1.2 scoreless innings. He allowed one hit. Strop threw 17 strikes versus just six balls in the outing.

Player of the Game: DH Chad Tracy
4 2 3 0 2 4 0 0 .429

AA: Frisco 1 - Springfield 8
L - Roark (0-1)
2-1, 1.0 GB

Pitching his first-ever official game in the U.S., Alexi Ogando was flat-out dominant.

Ogando overpowered the Springfield hitters, throwing 94-96 mph, for three strikeouts in 2.2 hitless innings. He threw 39 pitches [25 strikes] and walked one batter.

Although Ogando is currently in the starting rotation, he isn't viewed as a starting pitcher. The Rangers want the right-hander to work on his secondary pitches [slider, splitter], and he can throw more of them while throwing two- and three-inning stints as a starter.

The RoughRiders offense scored just one run on seven hits in the contest.

Third baseman Jonathan Greene (2/4, 2B) and right fielder Joey Butler (2/4) led the way with two hits apiece.

DH Wes Bankston singled once and walked once.

Tanner Roark suffered the loss in his first outing of the year, as he coughed up six runs [five earned] on six hits and two walks in just two innings pitched.

Another pitcher that normally throws strikes and gets ahead in the count, Ryan Falcon, walked three and hit a batter in 1.1 innings. Falcon allowed two runs in his Double-A debut.

Brennan Garr [2 ip] and Evan Reed [1 ip] finished the game with scoreless relief.

Player of the Game: RHP Alexi Ogando
2.2 0 0 0 1 3 0 0.00

A+: Bakersfield 6 - Lancaster 5
W - Pimentel (1-0)
SV - Eppley (2)
3-0, 1.0 GU

Carlos Pimentel earned the victory in his Cal League debut on Saturday, but he had a bit of a rocky outing. The young Dominican allowed plenty of baserunners [nine hits and three walks] over five innings, and he gave up five total runs. The righty fanned five.

Second baseman and nine-hole hitter Andres James entered the game with just 19 doubles in nearly 800 career at-bats. He had a career day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and one run batted in.

Designated hitter Mitch Hilligoss also doubled twice, going 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBI, and a stolen base.

Getting his first start of the season, backstop Doug Hogan was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in.

David Paisano singled twice and stole his first base of the season. Through three contests, the outfielder is 5-for-11 with two doubles and a walk.

Southpaw Tim Murphy worked two hitless innings out of the bullpen, walking one and striking out one.

Corey Young and Cody Eppley both fanned two in scoreless innings. Young earned his second hold of the season while Eppley picked up his second save.

Player of the Game: 2B Andres James
4 2 3 2 0 1 0 1 .750

A: Hickory 10 - (@) Hagerstown 1
W - Font (1-0)
HR - DiFazio (1)
2-1, 0.0 GU

Wilmer Font was outstanding in his first start of the season, yielding just one run over five innings pitched. The Venezuela native threw approximately 70 pitches, and he gave up five hits [four singles] while walking one and matching a career high with eight punchouts.

Font also fanned eight once with the AZL Rangers in 2007 and once with Hickory last season.

The hurler earned the victory with the help of a Crawdads offense that posted 10 runs on 13 hits in the game. Eight of the nine starters recorded at least one hit.

Catcher Vin DiFazio delt the big blast, putting the game away with his three-run homer in the eighth inning. He also singled once and walked once.

Right fielder Miguel Velazquez and second baseman Edwin Garcia both went 2-for-4 with their first doubles of the season. Velazquez stole a base and he also reached on a HBP.

CF Joe Bonadonna (2/5) and DH Jared Prince (2/5) had two singles apiece in five trips.

Left-hander Robbie Erlin impressed in a short AZL stint last year, when he fanned nine batters in only four innings. The Santa Cruz native made his full-season debut on Saturday, and he was just as good. Erlin struck out five of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings.

Righties Hector Nelo and Andrew Doyle finished off the game with one scoreless frame apiece.

Player of the Game: LHP Robbie Erlin
2.0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0.00

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