Grand Junction 13, Helena 5
Colorado Rockies first round draft pick, Kyle Freeland, pitched three solid innings, giving up four hits and one run. The only ball that was struck hard was a double in the first inning on a pitch that catcher Dom Nunez said was a good slider that fooled the hitter but bent to the barrel of the bat.
The three other hits, including the one that produced the RBI, were on groundballs. Freeland struck out two, and didn't walk anybody. His command was immaculate. "He hits his spots," said Nunez.
Grand Junction scored in every inning except the seventh, behind excellent offensive performances from Garcia, Yonathan Daza, and Randy Reyes, who each had multi-hit games.
Garcia's first home run was a screaming line drive that narrowly cleared the left field fence and got out of the park in no more than two-and-a-half seconds. The big first baseman added a single and a sacrifice fly before smashing his second home-run - a more traditional high, long fly ball - bringing his grand total to six RBI in the game. He is batting .345 on the season.
Yonathan Daza has been a hitting machine so far for GJ and still has his average over .400. He went 3-4 with three runs scored (thanks, Henry!) a walk and a stolen base.
Speaking of stolen bases, the Rookie team has made a point of pushing the issue on the base-paths. I spoke with speedy outfielder Denzel Richardson, who hit a triple in this game, and he told me, "We want to lead the league in stolen bases and caught stealing. Obviously we want a good ratio, but everyone on this team is an athlete." Omar Carrizales stole his sixth and seventh bases in this one. The kid can really fly.
Forrest Wall and Kevin Padlo each went 1-5, Padlo's being a triple. Kevin also displayed an excellent 3B arm on several defensive plays.
Craig Schlitter, a converted outfielder, was dominant in three innings of relief, striking out 4 and giving up only one hit. Pitching coach Ryan Kibler beamed about the potential for Schlitter given his advanced approach to pitching already with plenty still to learn.
Tulsa 6, Northwest Arkansas 4
The Tulsa Drillers beat the Northwest Arkansas Naturals 6-4 behind a three-RBI performance from Taylor Featherston who continued and excellent stretch with the bat with a double and a triple.
Delta Cleary Jr. had a triple and a home run out of the leadoff spot and Christian Adames and Will Swanner both added two-hit games as well.
Carlos Hernandez pitched six innings, giving up five hits and only one run, lowering his ERA to 2.74. He struck out six batters. Kraig Sitton and Cole White both pitched well out of the bullpen as they have all season. White gave up a run on a hit.
Modesto 5, Bakersfield 3
Go Nuts! Modesto won a game! Designated hitter David Bergin drove in four of the five runs the Nuts scored in their 5-3 defeat of the Bakersfield Blaze.
Bergin was 2-4, both hits leaving the yard, the second was a three-run shot. David Kandalis did his job to set the table with a hit, two walks, two runs scored, and a stolen base.
Michael Tauchman also grabbed a hit in three appearances and the only other RBI of the day. His torrid hitting just keeps going and his batting average sits at a gaudy .385.
Matt Flemer picked up the win by working around 10 hits, giving up two earned runs and striking out four in 6.2 innings pitched. Bruce Kearn and Rayan Gonzalez worked 1.1 and 1.2 innings respectively to close out the win.
Tri City 0, Hillsboro 2
In a perfect example of why W-L record can be completely meaningless, Helmis Rodriguez was charged for the loss after seven innings, six hits, and only one earned run. He struck out four batters, didn't walk anyone, and settled his ERA at 1.61.
The Dust Devils offense was stymied Hillsboro Hops starter Ben Eckels who went seven innings and struck out a whopping 11 betters.
Center fielder Marcos Derkes had the only multi-hit day for Tri-City and hit one of two doubles (the other from catcher Robbie Perkins) accounting for the only extra base hits they would get. Sam Bumpers went 1-2 with a walk.