Louisville Wins in 9th

Pedro Villarreal is getting off to a solid start in his second AAA season. Since coming into their organization he's developed a strong slider while overcoming control issues. Now after Tony Cingrani got the call from the Reds he's one of the top candidates if they need to reach deeper into their system for another starting pitcher.

The Louisville Bats went above .500 after scoring two runs in the ninth to win 3-2 over visiting Gwinnett. Pedro Villarreal had a strong outing with no decision, allowing one run on six hits without a walk in six innings while striking out four. Jose Diaz held the Braves scoreless the final two frames to pick up the win. The Bats got on the board first from an RBI single by Henry Rodriguez in the second inning. He collected his third hit of the game in the ninth to start the game-winning rally with two outs. The next two batters, pinch-hitter Emmanuel Burriss and Konrad Schmidt singled with the game-winner crossing on an error fielding the last one. Felix Perez reached safely three times from a couple of hits and a walk to raise his average to .300. Jason Donald added a couple of singles and Schmidt reached via a hit and a walk.

Villarreal is establishing himself as a solid "second line" starting pitcher in the Reds organization. This is his second year at Louisville after an early season promotion from Pensacola in 2012. He's gone at least six innings in all four of his starts and is sitting on a mid-two ERA and sub-one WHIP. He's having good command of his pitches with a 17/2 K/BB ratio and is successful keeping it low coming off hitters bats as his ground/air out ratio is at 1.90.

The 25 year-old right-hander got a taste of the majors when he retired the side in order while throwing an inning for the Reds last year after roster expansion. He originally entered the system out of Howard (TX) College from a seventh round selection in 2008. He, Theo Bowe, and Justin Freeman are now the last three standing in the organization from that draft. He did not have an impressive college career as a closer for a junior college team that won many games by blowout. However, a lot of scouts that went to those games to see his teammate play shortstop were impressed by his mid-90's fastball.

After the draft he went on the DL after a couple of appearances in the Arizona League. Since then he's done time at every level along the way to AAA. Oddly enough one of the big problems earlier in his career was control. He's also developed a solid slider while overcoming those concerns. Now he's back with the Reds and still on their 40-man roster. Competition for starting pitchers is tough atop the food chain in the Cincinnati organization, but Villarreal has shown that he can throw strikes and keep the ball out of the air. After three starts this season he's making noise that he's ready to return for a longer stay in the big leagues and should make it back to Cincinnati after roster expansion. Tony Cingrani recently got the call to replace injured Johnny Cueto and Villarreal is a top candidate if the Reds have to reach down into the system deeper.

Other Organizational News:

For the second day in a row the Reds fell behind 4-2 to the Cubs in extra innings, but Tuesday that remained the final score as they lost the second game of the series. They trailed early after allowing two runs in the first inning but got one back from a home run by Chris Heisey in the third and sent the game into extras with an RBI single by Joey Votto in the ninth. Shin-soo Choo went 3-4 with a walk and scored a run on the day. On the mound Tony Cingrani was strong in his second MLB start. He settled down after allowing a first-inning homer to finish seven allowing two runs on five hits without a walk while striking out nine. Logan Ondrusek and Manny Parra finished regulation by tossing scoreless frames before Parra allowed a home run in the final inning that hung the loss on him.

Things started off well for Pensacola when Ryan LaMarre led off their game with a home run but the Wahoos wouldn't cross the plate again in the next twelve innings as they lost 2-1 at Jackson in thirteen innings. LaMarre had two of the fish's five hits while Brodie Greene and Theo Bowe both reached safely via a hit and walk. Tim Crabbe got back on track after a rough outing to hold the Generals to one run on six hits without a walk over seven innings. Shaun Ellis, Lee Hyde, and Drew Hayes combined for five scoreless frames before Josh Ravin allowed the game-winner and took the loss.

Bakersfield fell behind early at High Desert in a 6-1 loss. The Blaze could only muster three hits in the game and scored their only run from a homer by Michael Gilmartin. Juan Perez reached safely a couple of times from walks. Coming off his best outing of the season James Allen had to navigate around seven hits in his four innings to hold the Mavericks to four runs (two earned) and took the loss.

Dayton came back with a run in the seventh and eighth innings to finish with a 4-3 win at Lansing. The Dragons took an early lead when Zachary Vincej scored after a first inning triple on a ground ball by Jeff Gelalich. Gelalich then scored himself in the fourth from a double by Tanner Rahier. Robert Ramirez tied the contest with a home run in the seventh before Junior Ariaz doubled home the game-winner the next inning. Six Dragons each had one hit with Seth Mejias-Brean getting reaching safely three times with a hit and two walks while Gelalich and brent peterson reaching from a hit and one walk each. Pedro Diaz got the start and left after five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. Jesus threw two-plus scoreless innings and picked up the win before Sean Lucas tossed one-plus scoreless for the save.


Cincy Hardball Top Stories