Kevin Cron is your typical power hitting 1B, although his overall hitting skills aren't exceptional enough to stick in the majors. He put on a show against a top pitching prospect and helped his team force extra innings. Cron belted out a trio of solo shots, the latter tying the game in the bottom of the 9th.
3 Stars: Jackson 1B Kevin Cron 3 for 5, 3 solo HR (3)
2 Stars: Visalia 3B Marty Herum 3 for 4, 2 HR (2), 4 RBI
1 Star: Kane County RHP Sam McWilliams 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, W (1-0), GS 69
0 Stars: Jackson Bullpen 4 IP, 6 H, 7 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 3⁄4 inherited runners scoring
Reno Aces 4, Fresno Grizzlies 5: Matt Koch got the start for the Aces, but that lasted only 2 batters into the 2nd inning when he left with an undisclosed inning. The bullpen had to get 24 outs, and held up well through the 7th inning. Ildemaro Vargas and Oswaldo Arcia both drove in 2, the former hitting his first homer of the season. That gave the Aces a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the 8th. Unfortunately, Enrique Burgos and Silvino Bracho could not hold onto that lead, allowing 2 runs in the 8th and a run in the 9th for a Grizzlies walk off win.
Jackson Generals 7, Birmingham Barons 8: The Generals got a strong start from Eric Jokisch, who outdueled top pitching prospect Michael Kopech. Jokisch gave up only a solo homer through 6 innings, with no walks and 6 strikeouts. Kopech struck out 10 Generals, an indication of how tough a match-up he is. However, they were able to build a 3-1 lead after 6 innings. That’s when the bullpen melted down. Brooks Hall, Jared Miller, Joey Krehbiel, and Miller Diaz pitched, all of them surrendered at least one run and were especially bad at stranding inherited runners. Bad relief work ruined a 3-homer day from Kevin Cron, including a game-tying shot in the 9th inning to force extra innings.
Visalia Rawhide 8, Lancaster Jethawks 5: The Rawhide took advantage of shoddy defense to score 5 runs in the 3rd inning. Marty Herum provided the big blow with a 2-out, 2-run homer. That gave Jose Almonte a nice 5-run cushion to work with, but he did not pick up the win as he could not get the 3rd out in the 5th inning necessary for that to happen. In 4 2⁄3 IP, he gave up 7 hits and walked 4 while striking 5. Mason McCullough delivered a pair of shutout innings and the Rawhide stretched the lead to 8-3 in the 8th thanks to another Herum 2-run blast. Mediocre outings by Keegan Long and Kirby Bellow allowed a pair of runs to score over the final two innings, but this game was in Visalia’s control all day.
Kane County Cougars 4, Clinton Lumber Kings 0: The series moved to Clinton, but the luck didn’t change for the Cougars, who now have a 22 inning scoreless streak. Sam McWilliams was the starter, allowing just 2 hits and a walk in 5 innings. The sinker was working as McWilliams struck out 5 and got 4 groundouts. The offense put up 3 runs in the 5th and a solo tally in the 7th to put the game away. Anfernee Grier, Marcus Wilson, and Jasrado Chisholm in 3 games are a combined 15 for 35 (.429 BA), each of them picking up 5 hits. If you add in walks, they’ve combined for a .512 OBP (21 for 41). Keep a sharp eye on those 3 players as they go up the system.