Bees win in Tucson, 11-6
Salt Lake’s offense put up eight runs over the final four innings to pull away from the Sidewinders and move to 2-3 on their current road trip.
First baseman Kendry Morales came up one RBI short of his career-high, driving in five while going 3-for-5 with his first homer of the year. The Cuban expatriate knocked in six for Arkansas in 2005. Morales entered the contest with only one extra-base hit in 41 at-bats, but added a double in addition to his three-run blast in the second inning. He came into the year with a .528 career slugging percentage.
Designated hitter Mike Eylward, 27, added his first double of the year for an offense that had five on the night. The right-handed slugger had been in a 2-for-19 slump entering the game and hadn’t had multiple hits in a game yet this season. Eylward had 30 extra-base hits for the Bees last year after earning a promotion in May.
Henry Bonilla moved to 2-0 on the year despite failing to get into the sixth inning for the third straight start. The 28-year-old righty allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits over five innings of work, lowering his ERA on the year to 4.80. After posting relatively even splits last year, Bonilla has struggled early against right-handed hitting, allowing a .450 average and 1.072 OPS in 20 at-bats.
Arkansas blanked 2-0 by Midland
The Travelers were shut out for the second time in 12 games this year, failing to convert on eight hits in the contest. They fall to 4-8 on the year.
Aaron Peel, hitting in the third hole for the first time this year, collected a pair of doubles in the contest, but both came with two outs and he was unable to advance either time. He has now hit in six of seven contests and has just one strikeout over that stretch. He has already hit everywhere from leadoff through fifth in the lineup this season.
For the third time in four outings, newly-converted reliever Rafael Rodriguez held the opponent scoreless despite making it a bit more interesting than he would like. The righty gave up four hits and walked one, but got three strikeouts and a key caught stealing from Bobby Wilson to escape any damage. Although he has whiffed 8 in 7.1 innings of work and has a 1.70 ERA, the 22-year-old has had to work around 14 runners.
Rancho edged out 7-6 in Elsinore
The Quakes’ ninth-inning rally fell short as the club lost to the Storm to open a three game series at the Diamond, but the club remains atop the division early with an 8-4 record.
Brad Coon and Hainley Statia continued to provide impressive 1-2 punch at the top of Rancho’s lineup. Coon had a pair of doubles, plating two runs and driving one in. He leads the club with nine runs scored and his .388 on-base percentage trails only Statia. The switch-hitting shortstop, who has hit behind Coon in the two-hole all year, had his first four-hit game of the season including a pair of doubles and a two-run single in the ninth inning to put the tying run onboard. The two own nine of the club’s 27 total walks while striking out just 12 times in 91 combined at-bats.
After two straight strong starts, righty Anthony Ortega struggled, giving up four earned runs in just three innings. The 21-year-old Venezuelan walked four hitters for his second consecutive outing and surrendered six hits. He opened the fourth inning on the mound, but gave up a homer, walk and back-to-back triples before Bobby Mitchell had to pull him. He had allowed just one fly ball through the first three frames.
Kernels go overtime for a 6-5 win
Cedar Rapids got some late-inning heroics for the second consecutive game, getting an 11th inning run to open their road trip with a victory over South Bend.
Shortstop Willie Ortiz had an up-and-down night, but ultimately came through with a a game-winning double in the top of the 11th. The 21-year-old, making his second start in three games, finished with a pair of RBIs on a 1-for-5 evening. In the field, he committed three fielding errors, but also helped keep the Silver Hawks off the board in the eighth with consecutive strong plays. After a leadoff double, he fielded a grounder deflected by Felipe Arredondo and recovered to get the out at first base. Then, playing in to cut off the run, he converted on a grounder, throwing out the runner at home to help the Kernels keep a lead.
Center fielder Peter Bourjos hit his first homer of the year as part of a 3-for-6 evening, doubling his hit count on the year. After hitting just .190 against righties this year, Bourjos took advantage of seeing a pair of lefties in the contest, going 2-for-4 against them. Last year, his splits strongly favored his production against right-handers, against whom he hit .304 with all five of his home runs.
Sean O’Sullivan started for the Kernels and gave up just one earned run – three overall – in six innings, overcoming three errors committed behind him. In what amounts to a bout of wildness for the righty who normally shows remarkable command, he issued two free passes – equaling his game high from last year – and hit a batter. Through two starts, the club’s third round pick in 2005 has a 2.25 ERA and four strikeouts over 12 innings of work.