All four full-season teams were in action on the first Friday night of the 2019 season. The Storm rode an excellent outing from MacKenzie Gore to their second consecutive victory, and the Sod Poodles got their first win in franchise history. El Paso and Fort Wayne both lost at home.
Las Vegas Aviators 12, Chihuahuas 4
Key Statistics: SS Luis Urías, 2-for-5; LF Josh Naylor, 1-for-3, R, 2 BB; 1B Ty France, 2-for-4, 2B, RBI; RF Jose Pirela, 2-for-4, BB, RBI; DH Alex Dickerson, 2-for-4; 2B Esteban Quiroz, 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (2), 2 RBI; LHP Logan Allen (L, 0-1) 2 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; RHP Carlos Torres, 3 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 2 K.
Prospect Watch: An eight-run third inning doomed the Chihuahuas as they lost their second straight game to start the 2019 campaign. … LHP Logan Allen had one of the worst starts of his career and took the loss. Allen got through the first two innings with ease and fell apart in the third. The inning opened with an error by third baseman Jason Vosler. From there, Allen allowed a walk and a pair of two-strike RBI singles. Allen walked three in the inning and was ultimately pulled without recording an out. It was the 21-year-old’s shortest start since September of 2017 when he was in Lake Elsinore. … Second baseman Esteban Quiroz homered for the second straight game as part of a two-hit night. The Padres acquired the 27-year-old from Boston in the off-season for RHP Colten Brewer. Quiroz hails from Ciudad Juarez so playing in El Paso is a homecoming of sorts. … Second baseman Luis Urías had his second consecutive multi-hit game, with a pair of singles in five at-bats. Urías did not strike out after punching out twice on opening night.
Sod Poodles 7, Corpus Christi Hooks 5
Key Statistics: C Luis Torrens, 1-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI; 1B Brad Zunica, 3-for-4, HR (2), 2 RBI; 2B Matthew Batten, 1-for-3, 3B, BB; RHP Jesse Scholtens, 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; RHP Blake Rogers (W, 1-0) 2 IP, H, 3 K; RHRP Andres Muñoz (S, 1) IP, BB, 2 K.
Prospect Watch: There’s a reason to rejoice in the Texas Panhandle, as the Sod Poodles won for the first time in franchise history. … Big Brad Zunica had three hits, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. He is 4-for-7 to start the year with homers in consecutive games. The left-handed hitting first baseman hit 17 last season in Lake Elsinore. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Zunica hit 20 or more in a full season. … After RHP Jesse Scholtens struggled, right-hander Blake Rogers pitched a pair of scoreless frames to earn the first win in Sod Poodles history. Rogers, 25, was the Padres’ 37th-round pick in 2015, out of Oklahoma. Rogers struggled down the stretch in Lake Elsinore but pitched well in seven appearances in the Arizona Fall League. … RHP Andres Muñoz pitched the ninth to earn his first save. The hard-throwing righty was sitting at 100 mph with his fastball and touched 101 on one pitch.
Storm 4, Inland Empire 66’ers 0
Key Statistics: 3B Eguy Rosario, 1-for-5, R, HR (1), RBI; DH Tirso Ornelas, 2-for-5, R; C Luis Campusano, 3-for-4, R, BB; 2B Estuery Ruiz, 2-for-5, R; RF Jack Suwinski, 2-for-4, BB, SB (1); SS Gabriel Arias, 3-for-5, 2 RBI; LHP MacKenzie Gore (W, 1-0) 5 IP, 4 H, BB, 8 K; RHP Caleb Boushley (S, 1) 2 IP, 2 H, 3 K.
Prospect Watch: The Storm won, despite leaving nine runners in scoring position. … At the plate Gabriel Arias had three hits, including an RBI single after he fell behind in the count. The shortstop also made several nice plays in the field. … Catcher Luis Campusano had three singles and walked during a good night at the plate. The backstop is healthy after suffering a concussion in August. While his power hasn’t yet showed up in games, Campusano makes frequent hard contact. … LHP MacKenzie Gore struggled with command at times but still had no issues with the Inland Empire lineup. Gore’s fastball sat at 95 MPH into the fifth inning, and he showed a solid curveball and a changeup that baffled hitters. Gore’s lack of command led to him throwing 90 pitches to get through five innings but the stuff was outstanding all night as he racked up eight strikeouts against just one walk. A healthy Gore could blow through the Cal League by the all-star break in June.
Lansing Lugnuts 7, TinCaps 3
Key Statistics: 2B Xavier Edwards, 2-for-5, R, 2 RBI; LF Grant Little, 1-for-2, 3 BB, SB (1); RF Agustin Ruiz; RHP Efrain Contreras, 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; LHP Trent Shelton (L, 0-1) 2 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, K; LHP Dan Dallas, 1.1 IP, H, BB, 2 K.
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps dropped game two of the season at home. … Xavier Edwards had two hits, scored a run and drove in two runs in the loss. Edwards has gotten on-base six times in two games and stole a base on opening night. The Padres’ competitive balance pick had a .453 on-base percentage in his debut between the AZL and Tri-City last year. … RF Agustin Ruiz had a pair of hits and has back-to-back multi-hit games to start the season. Ruiz, 19, isn’t on any top prospect lists yet but he did hit .290/.384/.466 in the AZL before parlaying his success into a few appearances with Tri-City and Fort Wayne. He was on our sleeper watch list coming into the year. … RHP Efrain Contreras allowed two runs in four innings and ultimately took a no-decision. The sturdy 19-year-old signed out of Mexico in July, 2017. He started last season in the DSL but impressed enough to come stateside early in the summer and ultimately finished the campaign in Tri-City.