The Jackson Generals rode strong starting pitching while hosting their own Home Run Derby challenge. Four players hit 6 home runs, with Dawel Lugo and Stewart Ijames sharing the HR crown for the game. The Visalia Rawhide also won their 3rd game in a row and the Kane County Cougars are 4-0 to start the season, although they needed a late HR to win.
3 Stars: Jackson 3B Dawel Lugo 4 for 6, 2 HR (1, 2), 4 RBI
2 Stars: Jackson RHP Brad Keller 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, W (1-0), GS 65
1 Star: Jackson RF Stewart Ijames 2 for 4, 2 HR (1, 2), 4 RBI, BB
0 Stars: Reno RHP Keyvius Sampson 1⁄3 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, L (0-1), GS 18
Reno Aces 3, Fresno Grizzlies 5: Starter Keyvius Sampson gave up 4 runs and managed to get only 1 out. Unfortunately, that was enough to put the game away early as the Aces hitters never got it closer to 2 runs. The team hit 3 for 16 with RISP and stranded 12 baserunners. The bullpen held things together with only 1 run allowed in 8 2⁄3 IP to keep the Aces in the game, but the offense squandered too many opportunities. Middle infielders Ildemaro Vargas and Ketel Marte are batting .412 and .444 respectively to start the season.
Jackson Generals 20, Birmingham Barons 5: The Generals were relentless and completely obliterated the Barons pitching staff. A night after Kevin Cron hit 3 home runs, the team went out and hit 6. Cron homered for the 4th time in 6 AB, Dawel Lugo hit a pair of 2-run shots, and Stewart Ijames hit two homers and drove in 4. Every General batter had at least 1 hit and 8 of 9 had multiple hits. That was more than enough support for Brad Keller, who pitched 5 shutout innings with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts in his AA debut.
Visalia Rawhide 4, Lancaster Jet Hawks 2: The Rawhide squandered an early 2-0 lead, but didn’t panic. Ivan Pineyro pitched well enough to win, with 6 innings of one run ball. The Rawhide hitters had 11 hits, but only 1 XBH (Austin Byler triple). After losing the lead in the 8th, the Rawhide immediately established another 2-run lead and Bud Jeter closed things out from there.
Kane County Cougars 4, Clinton Lumber Kings 2: The Cougars completed a home and home sweep of the Lumber Kings to start the season behind more stellar pitching and timely hitting. Cody Reed allowed a pair of unearned runs in 5 innings pitched with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. The Cougar bats were held silent for the front 7 innings, until Marcus Wilson provided a game-tying 2-run homer in the 8th to send the game to extra innings, where the Cougars won it in the 10th with an RBI by Jose Herrera and RBI single by Jason Morozowski. Closer Tyler Mark struck out 5 in the final two innings and picked up the win.
Pitching Prospect of the Week: Kane County RHP Jon Duplantier. 5 innings of shutout baseball and the highest game score of any starter this week with a mark of 72, edging out Taylor Clarke’s 71 on Thursday. Should be a fast-moving rotation prospect this year, with a similar track to Clarke last season. Has top of the rotation potential if he can develop his change-up.
Position Player Prospect of the Week: Kane County OF Marcus Wilson. Wilson hit .400/.526/.733 with a triple and a home run. Walked 4 times and only struck out twice. A slow-developing prospect, his game is coming together nicely where his ability to draw walks and steal bases makes him an ideal top of the order hitter in the future. More power should come in the future as he fills out his lanky 6’3” frame, and even if it doesn’t he’s got tremendous upside.