Padres prospect Luis Asuncion bats for Tri-City Dust Devils

Luis Asuncion looks to turn on a ball. (Photo: Judy Simpson)

PASCO, Wash. — Despite giving up eight hits and ten walks, Tri-City managed to hold the Hillsboro scoreless until third baseman Joey Rose hit a monster solo shot over the left field wall to put the Hops up 1-0 in the eighth inning.

Left-hander Omar Cruz made his fourth start since joining Tri-City from the AZL. The 19-year-old, who signed last summer, walked a season-high five hitters, – more than his total in his previous three starts.  The six-foot Mexican native was able to get his fastball up to 93 but struggled with his secondary pitches. 

With the exception of the home run off of Cody Tyler, the Dust  Devils’ bullpen held the opposition scoreless despite having runners on base in every inning.

Designated Hitter Luis Asuncion, who we featured for subscribers earlier this week, went 3-for-4 while center fielder Grant Little was 2-for-4 and made several nice plays in the field.

A big reason the Dust Devils were able to stay in the game was the sparkling defensive play of catcher Blake Hunt, who threw out three of five runners attempting to steal and prevented several more pitches from going to the backstop.

“Blake has a great arm and is constantly working on his receiving,” said his manager Mike McCoy.  “He’s come a long way since the beginning of the year.”

Tri-City also got two slick double plays early from second baseman Tucupita Marcano and shortstop Xavier Edwards, who were playing their second games in the Northwest League.  

The left-handed hitting Marcano, 18, was second in the AZL in batting average at .393, first in hits with 48 and had an on-base percentage of .497. Edwards, who turned 19 yesterday, was a first-round competitive balance pick in the 2018 year’s draft posted a slash line of .389/.477/.472 in 85 plate appearances.

Marcano picked up his first Northwest league hit with a single in four at-bats, while Edwards went hitless with a pair of punchouts. Defensively both showed impressive range.

“I’ve seen Tucupita throughout Extended and he is a stud on defense,” McCoy said on the Venezuelan native.  “He’s athletic, good arm and good hands.  With Edwards, I’ve just seen him the past couple of days and he seems very athletic with the defense coming easily to him.

“It’s always nice to have athletes up the middle.”

Dust Devil Notes:  Right-hander Angel Acevedo takes the mound Saturday for Tri-City.  He is 4-1 on the year with a 2.88 ERA in seven starts.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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