After two near misses by Dbacks minor leaguers to hit for the cycle, in both cases missing out on the single, Fidel Pena delivered a cycle performance in his first four at bats for South Bend last night. And he did it on his 22nd birthday!! He tripled leading off the game, he doubled in the 3rd, he homered in the 5th, then singled in the 8th. he came to bat in the 9th with runners on first and second and one out trailing by two runs and promptly struck out. Such is the cruel fate of baseball. Pena has been having a steady though unspectacular season and especially has been playing his best baseball this month. On the season he's carrying a .699 OPS often out of the leadoff spot, and in July he's hitting .288 with an .865 OPS. Pena was being groomed as a possible catcher as recently as last year but that plan has apparently been scuttled as he has only played second base this year. He's got a nice collection of tools--he plays good defense, he has a little pop, he can run a little, and he doesn't strike out a lot. He does need to take that next step forward and put up an entire season like his current month of July. Then maybe he can be taken more serious as a legitimate prospect. Right now he has to be considered a middle-of-the-road prospect.
3 Stars: Fidel Pena, South Bend 4 for 5, 3 R, 1 DBL, 1 TPL, 1 HR (7), 1 RBI
2 Stars: Mark Serrano, Mobile 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 ER, W (3-0)
1 Star: Rudy Flores, South Bend 2 for 3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 HR (12), 2 RBI
0 Stars: Eric Smith, Mobile 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 HR, 3 ER
Triple A: Reno 5 Las Vegas 7. The Aces couldn't close out a 1-run lead in the 9th as Matt Wright surrendered 3 runs and the blown save. They built the lead on a 2-run homer by Mike Jacobs and a couple of hits and 2 RBI from Alfredo Marte. Josh Wilson had 3 hits and an RBI and Matt Davidson went 2 for 2 with 3 walks.
Double A: Mobile 4 Montgomery 3. The Bay Bears were cruising to a solid victory as Mark Serrano tossed 6 shutout innings and the offense scored in each of the first 3 innings. Eric Smith came on in the 8th and got wallpoed for 3 hits including a home run that made it 4-3. Jake Barrett came on and got the save in the 9th in spite of allowing a couple of ground ball singles with 2 outs. Nick Evans hit his 15th home run.
High A: Visalia 8 @ Bakersfield 4. The Rawhide used a solid start by Eddie McKiernan and a balanced offense to pot an easy 8-4 win. McKiernan went 6 innings allowing just a single run on 5 hits and a walk. RJ Hively came on in the 9th and rescued reliever Seth Simmons for his 4th save. Evan Marzilli went 2 for 2 with 2 walks and an RBI, while Steven Rodriguez went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and an RBI.
Low A: South Bend 5 @ Peoria 7. Fidel Pena hit for the cycle but it wasn't enough as Brad Allen and two relievers allowed 7 runs. Rudy Flores went 2 for 3 with a walk, a home run and 2 RBI.
Short Season A: Hillsboro 7 Spokane 2. Jose Martinez earned his 2nd win with 5 innings of 2-run ball and the bullpen was stellar in the 7-2 win. In particular was Chase Stevens who pitched 2 innings and struck out 4. Zach Esquerra had a triple and 3 RBO to lead the 6-hit offensive attack.
Rookie: Missoula 10 @ Ogden 14. The Osprey lost a slugfest though most of Missoula's runs came late while Ogden's came earlier. Blayne Weller got blasted for 9 runs in 4+ innings. The offense was productive with Daniel Palka going 2 for 5 with a double, his 4th homer and 3 RBI. Red-hot Joe Munoz went 2 for 5 with a double, his 4th homer and 3 RBI. The light bulb seems to have come for Munoz in a big way. Hopefully he can keep it going from here.