EL PASO, Texas — Two of the top prospects in baseball played tonight for El Paso. It was evident exactly who those players were. Luis Urias, who was playing third base for the tenth time this year, and catcher Francisco Mejia were part of all three runs for El Paso as they held on to to beat the Las Vegas 51’s 3-2.
While not known for his speed, twice Luis Urias took an extra base leading to a run. In the first inning, a routine double saw Urias never slow down on his way to a triple. The 51’s brought the infield in and Mejia took advantage, getting a hit on a ball that would have normally been an out to score Urias.
Later in the game, Urias hit a single up the middle, and again would not stop running. This time he turned it into a double, eventually scoring on a powerful double by Mejia.
Right-hander Walker Lockett made his first start since being sent down from the big club and looked as motivated as ever. He threw seven strong innings allowing just one run while striking out six. He topped out at 95 MPH to get a strikeout to end the second but sat mostly 90-92 with his fastball.
“I had a talk with him when he first got sent down and essentially challenged him to pitch the way he is capable of pitching,” said Chihuahua’s manager Rod Barajas. “I think tonight he showed he was capable not only here, but that he is more than capable of getting hitters out in the big leagues as well.
“Tonight, he was on a mission.”
The difference between this start and those with the Padres was his ability to pound the bottom of the zone with fastballs. In San Diego, he was leaving the ball up and having to rely on his secondary pitches. Tonight, he threw about eighty percent fastballs mixing in a solid curve (79-81) and a rare change (85).
“His curveball was money tonight,” said Bronswell Patrick, the Chihuahuas’ pitching coach. “He was really pounding the zone with fastballs all night, and then would throw his curveball for the strikeout. It really kept the hitters off balanced.”
With Carlos Asuaje getting the start at second, Urias shifted over to third. In the second, Urias made a nice diving stop towards the line, came up with it, and fired a bullet to first for the out. Later in the game, he started a double play, and for good measure saved his best play of the night for the end, robbing Luis Guillorme of a double for the second out of the inning.
Tonight was one of the better-played games of the season for the Chihuahuas. A quality start, offense from the heart of the lineup, and great defense; which may be a reason they are in first place.