Bees toss shutout, Kernels blanked

Dallas McPherson goes deep for second time

The system's stars shined tonight as Jered Weaver, Dallas McPherson, Brandon Wood, Sean Rodriguez and Rafael Rodriguez all looked good. All but Wood also were able to celebrate their teams' victory.

Salt Lake shuts out Toros 6-0
Jered Weaver bounced back from his rocky start the last time out with six innings of shutout ball to get the win Wednesday night in Salt Lake. Weaver surrendered five hits – only one for extra bases – and a pair of walks, while striking out six. He now has eight quality starts in 18 starting assignments in his career. It was the fifth time he held the opponent without a run.

Dallas McPherson and Adam Pavkovich each had homers on the night to lead the offense. McPherson launched a three-run shot to right-center in the sixth inning to extend the Bee's lead to four. He struck out in his other three at-bats, leaving his season average at just .216 with a .727 OPS.

Pavkovich entered the game just one for nine on the year. The two-run homer was his first extra-base hit since last August.

Brian Specht, Erick Aybar and Reggie Willits all were successful on stolen base attempts – Aybar had a pair – against Juan Brito. The team has only converted on 19 of 30 attempts this season.

Reliever Jason Bulger threw two more shutout innings against his former teammates to extend his scoreless innings streak to start the year to 7.2. He has struck out 10 against only three hits allowed.

Travelers blasts not enough in 8-6 loss
Brandon Wood had a pair of solo homers for Arkansas, his third and fourth of the year. With one blast every 13.3 at-bats, he is slightly behind the pace of every 12.5 at-bats last season. He had four multi-homer games for Rancho in 2005.

Matt Brown and Dwain Bacon also had homers on the night, both solo shots as well. With his two hits, Brown extended his slugging percentage to a team-high .660. He is one of three Travelers – with Wood and Mike Eylward – over .600. Brown and Wood went back-to-back in the fourth inning, the first time the Trav's have done that this year.

Pitcher James Holcomb took the loss by giving up five runs in just 3.1 innings. Of the runs, only one was earned thanks to four Arkansas errors and Holcomb actually saw his ERA drop to 3.46. Holcomb has yet to make it into the sixth inning this year, and did so in only 14 of 25 starts last season. The big righty struggled with command Thursday, hitting three batters in addition to walking a pair.

Eric Rodland, hitting in the fifth spot for the first time this year, doubled to extend his streak to eight games. The move to a bigger RBI spot makes sense for a guy who has hit .389 with runners on, more than 100 points better than his average with the sacks empty.

Quakes blast Storm 9-1
Rafael Rodriguez wasn't invincible tonight, but still did more than enough to claim his third straight win to open the season. Although he surrendered his first run of the season, he gave up just the one in five innings, while striking out six. He has now struck out 20 in 17 innings of work while walking only two. His stint in Cedar Rapids in 2005 was the only time four seasons he was able to keep his strikeout-to-walk ratio above 2-to-1.

Devin Day, playing second base after four straight appearances at short, had a three-hit night, including a pair of doubles and three RBI. It is the 10th time in his 89 career games he collected three hits. Day, who played every position but pitcher and catcher for the Quakes last year, has appeared only in the middle infield so far in 2006.

Outfielder Drew Toussaint had an RBI double in the fifth. Seven of his 10 knocks have gone for extra bases, giving him an impressive isolated slugging rate of .282.

Sean Rodriguez, who scuffled in his return to the lineup Tuesday, was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. All three hits came against left-handed pitching, and he's now 4-for-5 against southpaws on the season. In Cedar Rapids last year, he hit just .206 against lefties.

Francisco Rodriguez, who joined the team from extended spring training to take Karl Gelinas's roster spot, threw two innings of scoreless relief in his stateside debut. Manager Bobby Mitchell's job of filling out his lineup card gets more confusing with the addition of a fourth Rodriguez to the team.

Cedar Rapids shut out 4-0
Kelly Shearer was the tough-luck loser for the Kernels Wednesday, taking the loss despite giving up just one earned run. The lefty had control problems all night, however, with four walks and three wild pitches in 4.2 innings of work. He has uncorked at least one wild pitch in each of his three starts, after posting just three total in 64.2 innings of work last year.

Daniel Hawkins continued his solid work in relief, throwing 3.1 hitless innings for the Kernels. He's gone at least two innings in each of his four appearances, and opponents are hitting just .206 against the righty who signed as an undrafted free agent last summer.

Hainley Statia was the only Kernel with two hits on the night, the fourth time this year he has done so. The switch-hitting speedster, who came in hitting 76 points higher from the right side, was 1-for-3 against lefty starter Ramon Garcia.

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