The Kane County Cougars have started the season 5-0 behind some impressive pitching and relying on their talented youngsters to do the heaving lifting at the plate. The team has four high ceiling prospects in Anfernee Grier, Marcus Wilson, Jon Duplantier, and Jazz Chisholm, all four of whom I think will be significant contributors for the MLB team in the distant future. Last night, they recorded their 3rd shutout in 4 games behind Duplantier, Sam McWilliams, and now Ryan Atkinson. All three players were acquired by the organization in the 2016 season.
3 Stars: Kane County RHP Ryan Atkinson 5 2⁄3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K, W (1-0), GS 68
2 Stars: Reno RHP Frank Duncan 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, GS 62
1 Star: Jackson LHP Gabriel Moya 1 IP, 3 K, SV (1)
0 Stars: Kane County 1B Kyle Smith 0 for 4, GIDP, K
Reno Aces 5, Fresno Grizzlies 2: Frank Duncan took the mound for the Aces and had a solid season debut. Duncan allowed only a solo homer through 6 innings, relying on his sinker to record 11 ground ball outs. Trailing 1-0 in the top of the 7th, the Aces put up a 5-run inning with 6 consecutive 2-out hits, capped by a Jack Reinheimer 2-run double. Brian Matusz pitched the next two innings, allowing a solo homer to cut the lead to 5-2. With a 3-run lead in the bottom of the 9th, the Aces called upon Enrique Burgos to close things out. Burgos allowed a walk, got a double play, gave up a double, then recorded a strikeout in the most Enrique Burgos-esque save ever. Ildemaro Vargas, Ketel Marte, and Oswaldo Arcia each went 2 for 4 with a walk in the win.
Jackson Generals 5, Birmingham Barons 2: Alex Young had a solid season debut, allowing 1 run in 5 innings despite allowing 7 runners to reach. The only damage was a solo homer. Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 6th, the Generals put 3 runs up on the board to take a 4-1 lead. That made a winner of Gabe Speier, who pitched 3 innings in relief. Armed with a 5-2 lead, Gabriel Moya closed out the game in grand fashion, requiring only 12 pitches to strike out the side in the 9th. Colin Walsh reached base 4 times in the game and Michael Perez drove in a pair in the win.
Visalia Rawhide 5, Lake Elsinore 2: The Rawhide started things off with a 3rd inning Grand Slam by Fenery Ozuna. That was enough run support for Trevor Simms, who allowed only 1 run in 5 innings with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks. The Rawhide added on another run in the 8th with an RBI single by Galli Cribbs to score Austin Byler to take a 5-1 lead in the 9th. Keegan Long ran into a bit of trouble in the 9th, allowing 1 run and allowing the tying run to bat, but managed to stop the scoring there.
Kane County Cougars 2, Cedar Rapids Kernals 0: The Cougars recorded their 3rd shutout in 4 games. Today it was Ryan Atkinson who took the mound for Kane County. Atkinson scattered 6 hits and 2 walks in 5 2⁄3 innings, striking out 10. The Cougars provided all the run support he would need in the first three innings. The first run scored when Ramon Hernandez drove in Marcus Wilson with a single in the first inning. Jazz Chisholm would add a solo homer in the 3rd for the final tally. The 19 year old shortstop is batting .389 in his first 5 games in full season ball.