The Hillsboro Hops, the Diamondbacks short-season A-ball affiliate started their season today. The Hops started their 3-peat attempt with a victory over Salem-Keizer behind solid starting pitching and plenty of offense with the bullpen getting enough outs to seal the deal.
3 Stars: LHP Alex Young (Kane County) CG, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, W (2-0)
2 Stars: RHP Braden Shipley (Reno) 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, W (6-3)
1 Star: RF Socrates Brito (Reno) 4 for 5, 2 2B, R
0 Stars: RHP Trevor Simms (Hillsboro) 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K
Reno 5, Albuquerque 1: Braden Shipley was really good today, going 8 innings and allowed only 1 run on 5 hits, walked none, and struck out 3. He only needed 91 pitches in his outing, throwing 60 for strikes. I think it will be very unlikely that the Diamondbacks start Shipley's service clock without giving Archie Bradley and Zack Godley extended looks in the rotation this year. The Aces gave him all the run support he would need with 4 runs in the first 3 innings. Carlos Rivero homered and doubled in a 2 RBI effort and Kyle Jensen drove in the other 3 runs. Socrates Brito was the main catalyst on the offense, going 4 for 5 with a pair of doubles, raising his AAA batting average to a respectable .290. Steve Hathaway closed things out with a 1-2-3 9th inning.
Mobile 2, Pensacola 2 (Susp. B5): The game action is suspended in the 5th inning. The Wahoos scored first with 2 runs in the 2nd off of Yoan Lopez. Lopez so far went 4 innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 walks with 1 strikeout. The Baybears tied things up in the top of the 5th when Evan Marzilli singled in a pair of runners. I presume that game action will pick up or they'll play a doubleheader with this game going 7 innings.
Visalia 3, Lake Elsinore 4: Things started off well in the first inning, although Brad Keller did allow a run in that frame. For the next 6 innings, Keller kept the Storm off the board in an effort that totaled 7 innings. Keller scattered 4 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 5 on the day and left with a 3-1 lead after 7. Rudy Flores collected 2 hits and Henry Castillo had the only extra base hit for the Rawhide, which was a double. After Keller exited the game, the bullpen proceeded to give the game away. Gabriel Moya allowed a game-tying 2 run homer in the 8th inning and Cameron Gann allowed the winning run in the 9th inning to score.
Kane County 1, Clinton 0: Alex Young and Zack Littell engaged in a ferocious pitcher's duel, with Young coming out on the winning end. Young threw a 7-inning complete game, allowing just 1 hit and walked 3 with 4 strikeouts. Young threw 57 of 91 pitches for strikes and kept hitters off-balance all day. The only run of the game came in the 3rd inning when Zach Nehrir drove in Fernery Ozuna with a double with 2 outs. From there, Young took over and delivered the win.
Kane County 2, Clinton 5 (11): Sam McWilliams made his Diamondbacks organizational debut after being acquired when the Diamondbacks sent Jeremy Hellickson packing (ironically to the Diamondbacks current opponent). McWilliams allowed 2 runs in 5 innings of work, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts. Despite falling behind 2-0 quickly, the Cougars tied the game with an RBI single by Raymel Flores in the 2nd and a solo HR by Joe Munoz in the 3rd inning. From there, no runs would score until the 11th inning, when Ryan Burr gave up a 3-spot in his 2nd inning of work.
Hillsboro 5, Salem-Kelzer 6: The Hops got on the board with the long ball, scoring their first 5 runs that way. In the 2nd inning, Jeff Smith cranked out a 3-run homer and Luke Lowery hit a 2-run homer in the 6th. That was more than enough support for Anfernee Benitez, who only allowed 1 run on 6 hits and a walk with 6 strikeouts over 5 innings. Trevor Simms hit a speed bump in the 7th inning with 3 runs allowed, but was able to keep the lead. Toolsy outfielder Marcus Wilson made his season debut and showed off the entire tool set, going 1 for 4 with a walk, a pair of stolen bases, and an outfield assist at home plate. Tucker Ward pitched a scoreless 8th inning and Julio Perez was able to get the save despite allowing a run in the 9th inning.