HR Roll Call: Nicky Lopez (8), Reed Rohlman (6), Ismaldo Rodriguez AZL 2(3)
Nicky Lopez HR Video
BPKC Hitter of the Day: Ismaldo Rodriguez 2-4 2 HR
BPKC Pitcher of the Day: Jackson Kowar 3 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 6 K 0-3 GO-FO 41p/26k
Royals 1st round pick Jackson Kowar had his most impressive outing yet even in an abbreviated appearance. The former Florida Gator pitcher worked three perfect innings on 41 pitches, striking out six of the nine hitters he faced. Five of the six strikeouts were swinging as Kowar earned eight swinging strikes among his 26 strikes thrown before handing things off to Garrett Davila. The two teams exchanged one run with the Legends scoring in the fourth inning on a Manny Olloque double before Hagerstown answered with a two-out rbi single in the fifth inning. The Suns broke that tie in the eighth inning with three consecutive hits off Davila which led to a pair of runs. The Legends threatened in the bottom of the ninth pulling within one but Cristian Perez would get put out at the plate for the second out before Kyle Isbel stranded the tying run in scoring position with a groundout to end the game.
MJ Melendez: 2-4 2b
Nick Pratto: 1-3 BB
Brewer Hicklen: 1-4 R, 2 SB
The Naturals entered Thursday with a small opening to make the playoffs, trailing first-place Tulsa by 4.5 games with 13 left to play including a five-game series with the Drillers. With little margin for error, each game would prove to be extremely important. With that small margin, the Naturals send Scott Blewett to the mound a start after being named Texas League Pitcher of the Week. The big right-hander wasn’t as efficient as last time out, but none the less managed to work around a bases-loaded threat in the third inning to give the Naturals five scoreless innings before yielding to the bullpen. Scoreless until the seventh inning when Grant Gavin gave up a solo home run to Chris Chinea. The Naturals answered that 1-0 deficit with two runs in the eighth with Alex Liddi’s RBI double and Alfredo Escalera’s sac fly that brought Liddi home. That lead held up until the ninth when a one out walk issued by Franco Terrero came around in the ninth to even the score. In extras the two teams exchanged free runners scoring in the tenth and again in the eleventh the Cardinals scored. In the Naturals half though the Naturals were unable to push their free runner along, letting a winnable game get away. The Naturals missed an opportunity to get a game closer in the standings after Tulsa lost again.
Alex Liddi: 2-5 R, 2b, RBI
Scott Blewett: 5 IP 3 H 0 R 0 ER 2 BB 3 K 6-4 GO-FO 83p/56k
Kelvin Gutierrez: 0-4 R, BB
The Chasers couldn’t muster enough offense to help out Trevor Oaks despite another quality start from the right-hander. The Dodgers plated a run in each of the first three innings against Oaks as they piled up eight hits in six innings against him. The Dodgers scored via a wild pitch in the first, a gift of outfielder Brian Goodwin’s error in the second and three singles in the third to take a 3-1 lead after three innings. Shortstop Nicky Lopez countered with a solo home run in the fourth inning to pull within a run. From there the two teams were held scoreless and the Chasers only true threat in the seventh with Donnie Dewees on second fizzled out with with a pair of outs to put away the threat and ultimately the game for Omaha.
Nicky Lopez: 1-4 HR
Josh Staumont: 1 IP 1 H 0 R 0 BB 1 K 1-1 GO-FO 15p/8k
Richard Lovelady: 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 BB 0 BB 2 K 15p/11k
After piling up 39 hits in the last two games, but the Royals added on 15 more on Thursday night against the Cardinals. It wasn’t enough. Three first two pitchers the Royals sent to the mound gave up 10 runs through the first seven innings, putting the Cardinals up 10-5. The Royals didn’t threaten in the ninth, plating three runs before dropping the game.
Juan Carlos Negret: 3-5 2R, 2b
Rafael Romero: 3-5 3 RBI
Jose Marquez: 2-5
The Chukars and Mustangs were limited to just three runs in this one as the two starters held up their end of the bargain. Billings starter Ricky Salinas limited Idaho Falls to just two hits in six and one-third innings. One of those hits accounted for a run for Idaho Falls as Reed Rohlman connected on his sixth home run in the second inning to give the home squad a 1-0 lead. After Connor Mayes gave the Chukars six scoreless innings, reliever Jaret Hellinger gave up a run to even the score in the eighth inning. Fortunately, the Chukars quickly answered with a double by Hunter Strong that scored Nick Hutchins in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead back. With the slim lead closer, Daniel James answered the bell in the ninth with a scoreless inning to secure the save.
Connor Mayes: 6 IP 7 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 5 K 3-6 GO-FO 85p/60k
Reed Rohlman: 1-3 HR, BB
Hunter Strong: 1-3 2b, RBI
Follow me on Twitter @ClintScoles