Rafael Ortega comes in a small package, but he carries a big stick.
AAA Colorado Springs, Postponed - (55-68, 3rd, 9.5 GB)
Rain prevented the Sky Sox from losing their fifth game in six tries, but only for a day. The game will be made up as a double header today in Nashville, with Kurt Birkins (2009, MiLB FA) and Alan Johnson (2005, undrafted) getting the starting gigs.
AA Tulsa, W 10-4 - (25-20, 2nd, 3.0 GB)
The Drillers subjected the Rock Hounds to a merciless hit parade, lacing 16 hits, six for extra bases. Aurora native Jason van Kooten (2003, 46th round) led the way with four hits and his 16th home run. Michael Mitchell (2007, 25th round), Radames Nazario (2005, 22nd round), and Charles Blackmon (2008, 2nd round) each singled and doubled, Kiel Roling (2008, 6th round) and Warren Schaeffer (2007, 38th round) both singled twice and Anthony Jackson (2006, 16th round) tripled and walked twice.
Christian Friedrich (2008, 1st round) opened the game strongly, retiring the first six batters he faced, two via strikeout. But after three consecutive singles to lead off the third, he was removed with a "strained lat muscle." David OhNo tweeted last night that he didn't appear to be in pain, but you never know.
High-A Modesto, W 6-2 - (25-26, 4th, 6.0 GB)
RBI hits from Ryan Peisel (2008, 12th round) and Brian Rike (2007, 2nd round) followed a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Thomas Field (2008, 24th round) in the first inning, and that's all the runs Rob Scahill (2009, 8th round) would need. He worked eight solid innings, striking out nine Blaze and allowing just five hits. Both runs allowed came in the fourth, as Bakersfield opened with a walk and double, plating two runs on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly.
The Nuts answered right back in the bottom half, with a two-run double by Erik Wetzel (2008, 13th round), part off his three hit day. Ben Paulsen (2009, 3rd round) provided a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth, and Beau Seabury (2007, 13th round) had a perfect night with a single and two walks.
Low-A Asheville, W 10-6 - (31-20, 1st)
The good news is Tyler Matzek (2009, 1st round) threw a one-hitter. The bad news: he continues to struggle with control, as he mixed a wild pitch in with five walks on the way to allowing three runs. He got the hook in the third inning with a 4-1 lead after getting just eight outs - zero by ground ball. He has walked 56 and allowed 57 hits this season, has issued a free pass in every outing and 29 in his last seven. Leuris Gomez (2009, DR) more or less stopped the bleeding by walking no one and allowing one run in three innings of relief.
Delta Cleary Jr (2008, 38th round), Nolan Arenado (2009, 2nd round) and Orlando Sandoval (2006, DR) each singled and doubled for the Tourists.
Short-A Tri-City, L 2-3 - (7-14, 4th, 6.0 GB)
The Dust Devils were the only team in the organization to lose on Brad Hawpe Farewell Day. Edwar Cabrera (2008, DR) allowed all three runs, though two were attributable to a Jeremiah Sammy (2009, undrafted) throwing error. Otherwise, he pitched quite well in lowering his ERA to 2.81 while seeing his record drop to 1-6. Chandler Laurent (2009, 21st round) hit his 8th home run and David Hernandez (2009, undrafted) scored on a Sammy sac fly for Tri City's scoring.
Rookie Casper, W 8-6 - (9-8, 3rd, 3.5 GB)
Every member of the Ghosts lineup struck out, part of a 16-K night, led by Corey Dickerson (3) (2010, 8th round) and Juan Crousset (3) (2007, DR). But Casper more than overcame their contact woes. Rafael Ortega (2008, VZ) continues to make Rox Girl look like she knows baseball, as he posted a three hit night, including two doubles and four RBI. He leads the Pioneer League in average, is 4th in OBP and second in steals. Recent signee Will Swanner (2010, 15th round) made his debut, notching a single in the fifth and scoring on an Ortega double. He also singled later in the game. Blake McDade (2010, 20th round) hit his second home run. Kenneth Roberts (2010, undrafted) pitched very well over 3.1 IP for the win.
DSL Rockies, Off Day - (36-32, 4th, 12.0 GB)
The Dominican League will return to action on tomorrow.