Salt Lake downs Vegas 7-3
The Bees won for the third straight night thanks to solid pitching and an offense keyed by leadoff man Nathan Haynes and third baseman Matt Brown.
Haynes, 27, was 3-for-4 with a walk and double. His four RBIs on the night equaled his single-game best since rejoining the Angels organization out of the independent leagues last June. The left-handed speedster was originally a first-round selection by Oakland in 1997, but has never reached the big leagues. He owns a .275 career average in almost 3,000 minor league at-bats.
Brown, who emerged as a prospect with a solid performance in Arkansas last year and the Arizona Fall League this offseason, had a pair of doubles to drive in one and set up three runs scored. After opening his 2006 campaign with hits in his first eight games, the right-handed third baseman had been hitless through the first two contests of the year.
Starter Matt Hensley picked up the victory by giving up just two runs on four hits in five innings. The 28-year old righty walked one while striking out five in his first start since the end of the 2003 season. Hensley worked just 35.1 innings last year after surgery to repair a torn labrum cost him all of 2005. The 28-year-old will hope to make it back to Anaheim, where he made 16 appearances in 2004.
Arkansas squeak by Frisco 1-0
Ace prospect Nick Adenhart made his Double-A debut a memorable one, giving up just one single while striking out eight in 5.1 innings of work for the win. The 20-year old righty was a bit wild - walking two, hitting a batter and uncorking a pair of wild pitches – but went into the sixth without having allowed a hit. The performance even out-classed his debut with Cedar Rapids last year in which he gave up just two hits in six innings. Making the transition to the bullpen, Rafael Rodriguez relieved Adenhart with men on first and second and got two quick outs to finish the frame. He pitched into some trouble in the seventh, yielding a pair of singles and a walk, but two strikeouts and a fly ball got him out of the inning.
Shortstop Sean Rodriguez will have a story to tell all his friends after winning the game with a homer against Eric Gagne. Of course, with the former Cy Young winner on a rehab assignment, the blast came in the game’s first inning – but it still turned out to be the only run of the night. The slugger also drew a walk on the night and, with two through three games, is one away from his total for the entire month of April last year.
With a single in the top of the third inning, outfielder Aaron Peel became the only Travs player to collect a hit in each of the first three games of the season. The right-handed hitter is looking to get on track earlier than last year, when he hit just .250 through the season’s first two months, then went .301 over the rest of the season.
Rancho moves to 3-0 on another shutout
Even though they were without the benefit of a big league starter for the first time on the year, the Quakes pitching staff still stymied Lake Elsinore, giving up just three hits on the way to a 3-0 victory.
Starter Anthony Ortega, 21, went five innings, giving up those three knocks, but didn’t issue a walk and struck out five. The Venezuelan righty made one start for the Quakes last year, but spent the majority of the season in Cedar Rapids. He begins the year with a 2.24 career ERA since signing in 2003.
Designated hitter Jordan Renz drove in a pair of runs for the Quakes with a single and sacrifice fly. The slugger, who drew praise for coming into the season lighter and more agile, also swiped second base in the contest and drew two walks.
Reliever Darren O’Day again baffled Storm hitters with his sidearm delivery and impressive slider. The righty, who closed through college but will assume a setup role when Ryan Aldridge is ready to go, struck out all three batters in the ninth for his second save in as many appearances. O’Day, 24, could move quickly up the system if he produces this year.
Cedar Rapids finally plays, falls 2-1
Although sub-freezing temperatures again hit Beloit, the Kernels and Snappers got in one seven-inning game from their scheduled double-header. The clubs were tied headed into the final frame, but reliever Warner Madrigal gave up three singles to take the loss in his first appearance as a pitcher in the Midwest League.
The Kernels’ only run came on a homer to center by last year’s top pick Hank Conger. The slugger, who missed more than half his rookie year with a broken hook of hamate bone, has now hit both of his professional round-trippers from the left side.
Willie Ortiz, 21, had two of the club’s five total hits, including a second inning triple to right. The product of Dowling College had just nine extra-base hits in 36 Arizona League games in his debut season last year.
David Herndon, 21, had everything working in his first start of the year. The big righty who the Angels took in the fifth round last year retired the first 12 batters he faced and allowed just one run on a pair of hits and one walk in six innings. Showing that he was back in command of his heavy fastball, he gave up just one fly ball in the game.