After starting the year in Class A Kane County, the Diamondbacks 3rd round pick from a year ago has already reached AA. In his 3rd start, he contributed not only on the mound but also at the plate with a 2-hit game and is 3 for 4 at the plate this year. Clarke was always considered a fast-riser in the system due to superb control, but I never thought he'd go at this pace.
3 Stars: RHP Taylor Clarke (Mobile) 6 IP, 9 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 6 K, W (1-2); 2 for 2, 2B, Sac Bunt, R
2 Stars: RHP Brad Keller (Visalia) 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, W (5-4)
1 Star: 1B Austin Byler (Kane County) 3 for 4, HR (1), SB
0 Stars: RF Victor Reyes (Visalia) 0 for 4, 3 K, R
Reno 7, Tacoma 4: The game started off scoreless until the bottom of the 3rd inning when the Rainiers scored a run off of Kyle Drabek. The Aces responded with a pair of runs in both the 4th and 5th inning to take a 4-2 lead. Overall Kyle Drabek allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings, walking 1 and striking out 2. Enrique Burgos was unable to hold the lead, allowing his first earned run of the year in the 7th inning. Andrew Chafin quickly came in and ended the Rainiers threat in the 7th inning with a strikeout. The game would remain tied until the top of the 9th when Jack Reinheimer hit a tie-breaking 3-run homer, his first since Opening Day for the Aces. Silvino Bracho closed things out with a scoreless 9th inning.
Mobile 8, Jackson 2: Taylor Clarke had a 3rd solid start in a row to start his AA career, this time picking up a win. Clarke allowed 2 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings, walking 1 and striking out 6 while also contributing at the plate. Clarke went 2 for 2 with a single, double, and sacrifice bunt. The Baybears broke a 1-1 tie in the 3rd with a 4-run inning that included a 2-run homer from Kevin Cron. The Baybears had a parade of doubles in this game, most notably in the 3rd and 8th innings. The Baybears tacked on 3 more runs in the 8th inning with 3 doubles and a walk, with Jamie Westbrook driving in the last 2 runs of the game. Billy Buckner pitched the final 3 innings for an old school style save.
Visalia 5, Lancaster 2: After falling behind 1-0, the Rawhide quickly answered with 2 runs in the 2nd and 5 unanswered runs to take a 5-1 lead in the 7th inning. That allowed Brad Keller to settle in and pitch a good ball game. Overall, he allowed 1 run 4 hits in 6 innings of work, with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. The game was much more encouraging with the damage done against Keller being only 1 XBH and no home runs. While it wasn't a double digit strikeout game like the last 2 games, you take that every time from Keller. The Rawhide picked up plenty of extra base hits in the game with Dawel Lugo cranking out his 9th homer of the year and Domingo Leyba hitting out his 5th. Oscar Hernandez also contributed with 2 doubles. In his Visalia debut, Midwest League All-Star Cameron Gann pitched a scoreless 8th and in the 9th inning Bud Jeter struck out the side en route to his 8th save of the year.
Kane County 4, Wisconsin 5: Alex Young was solid in this start, pitching better than what the final line will show. Young allowed 7 hits and 4 runs in the game in 6+ innings, although he started the 7th inning with a 4-2 lead. The Cougars scored first in the bottom of the first inning, then Young allowed 2 runs in the 2nd. The Cougars tied the game on an Austin Byler home run, his first of the year. Despite the sheer number of baserunners against Young, catcher Francis Christy was able to erase them on the basepaths, throwing out 3/4 potential base stealers. After taking the lead in the bottom of the 6th, Young could not get the shutdown inning as he allowed the first two batters to reach, the 2nd hitter getting a home run. After the game was tied, Ryan Burr came in and allowed a double before making an errant pickoff throw that led to the winning run scoring. Defensive miscues wound up costing the Cougars dearly with 2 of the 5 runs being unearned.