Las Vegas Aviators 9, Chihuahuas 8

Key Stats: LHP Jerry Keel 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 3 BB; SS Luis Urías 2-5, SB, 2 K; 3B Ty France 3-4, R, 4 RBI, HR, 2B; LF Josh Naylor 1-5, R, 3 K; CF Michael Gettys 0-5, 2 K; 2B Esteban Quiroz 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, R, BB, 2 K

Prospect Watch: In a high scoring affair, the Chihuahuas got the tying run to third base in the bottom of the ninth but ultimately fell short in the season opener.  Luis Urías collected a pair of singles in the lead-off spot; however, he fell behind in the count a few times and ended up with a pair of ugly strikeouts. …Ty France, who could very well have ended up the Padres’ starting third baseman if not for the Manny Machado signing, continues to hit the ball well. He swatted a solo home run in the fourth and finished a triple shy of the cycle. The 24-year-old slashed .287/.382/.532 in 25 games with El Paso last season and is likely to hit his way onto a major league roster sooner rather than later. …Like Urías, Josh Naylor, looked a bit rusty at the plate, striking out in three of his five at-bats.  On the plus side, he opens the season in significantly better shape for the outfield than he did in 2018.

Corpus Christi Hooks 5, Sod Poodles 2

Key Stats:  LHP Adrian Morejon 4 IP, 4 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 4 Hits Allowed; CF Buddy Reed 0-4; SS Owen Miller 1-4, K; 3B Hudson Potts 0-3, 2 K, BB; 1B Brad Zunica 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K; LF Jorge Oña 0-1, 3 BB, K

Prospect Watch:  The Sod Poodles bats sputtered out of the gates, managing a mere two hits the entire game as they became the first affiliated club to represent Amarillo in 37 years. … First baseman Brad Zunica and outfielder Jorge Oña were the lone bright spots on the offense with the former swatting a two-run homer and the latter walking in three of his four plate appearances. … Adrian Morejon continued to flash a dynamic arsenal but struggled with command for most of the night and ended up exiting in the fifth after allowing the first five batters to reach base.  Perhaps, an area of growth to look out for with the young southpaw this season would be his effectiveness against right-handed hitters. Righties hit .294 with a .340 on-base percentage against Morejon in 2018 and he still had a rather pedestrian .261 avg and .328 OBP against with a 7:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  All the damage against Morejon Thursday came at the hands of right-handed bats as he allowed a .308 average and carried a 2:2 strikeout to walk ratio.

Storm 3, Inland Empire 66ers 2

Key Stats:  LHP Tom Cosgrove 5 IP, 5 K, 2 ER, 3 BB; CF Jeisson Rosario 2-4, R, RBI, BB, SB; C Luis Campusano 2-4, RBI, 2B, BB; 2B Esteury Ruiz 1-3, 2 BB, 2B, SB, K; 1B Luis Basabe 2-3, 2 2B; DH Robbie Podorsky 1-4, R, SB, SS Gabriel Arias 0-4, 2 K

Prospect Watch:  After quietly putting up a strong season for the TinCaps in 2018, Tom Cosgrove continued his sneaky effectiveness, striking out five and allowing just two runs over five innings. The Padres selected the lefty out of Manhattan College with their 12th-round pick in 2016.  … CF Jeisson Rosario flashed his innate ability to put the bat on the ball with a pair of singles and no strikeouts.  While he boasts some of the best speed in the organization, he swiped only 18 bags last season, so it is encouraging to see him come out of opening day with his first one.  …Esteury Ruiz, who swiped a sensational 49 bags in 2018, also grabbed his first stolen base of the year in an impressive debut.  The 20-year-old struggled with plate discipline for most of last season but looked remarkably more patient at the plate en route to a two-walk night. …Gabriel Arias has seemingly retooled his swing but posted an inauspicious debut at the plate, striking out twice and failing to collect a hit.

TinCaps 3, Lansing Lugnuts 0

Key Stats:  LHP Ryan Weathers 5 IP, 9 K, 0 BB, 0 ER, RP Carlos Belen 1 IP, K, BB, 0 ER; C Blake Hunt 1-4, RBI, R, 2B, K; 2B Xavier Edwards 2-3, RBI, 2 BB; DH Agustin Ruiz 2-4, R, RBI, 2 K; LF Grant Little 0-3, BB, 2 K

Prospect Watch:  Despite the wind chill hanging around freezing, 2018 first rounder Ryan Weathers dominated the Lansing lineup to the tune of a no-run, 9-strikeout performance. His fastball sat 91-94 MPH, which should see a step up in coming weeks, and his curveball and changeup flashed solid movement.  While his arsenal isn’t as electric as Mackenzie Gore’s or Luis Patiño’s, he displayed an advanced ability to mix his pitches and choose his spots.  He’ll likely end up in Lake Elsinore by this summer.  … The Fort Wayne offense put together a mixed bag, but ultimately put things together in a final couple of frames for a 3-0 victory.  Xavier Edwards, who slashed a stellar .346/.453/.409 in 2018 despite being limited to one side of the plate, led the charge with two hits and a pair of walks.  One of those hits was a perfectly executed bunt down the third base line to load the bases in the bottom of the fifth. … Carlos Belen returns to Fort Wayne for the fourth straight season, but this time as a lockdown reliever. The big former infielder is now one-for-one in career save opportunities.

Posted by Travis Barnett

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