Round Rock Express 3, Chihuahuas 2
Key Stats: SS Matthew Batten 3-for-4, 2 2B, RBI; C Brett Sullivan 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, PB; RF Luis Liberato 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 SB (2); DH Luis Campusano 1-for-4; RHP Reiss Knehr 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; LHP Ian Krol 1.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 K; RHP Jesse Scholtens 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 1 BB.
Prospect Watch: Matt Batten continued his hot start for the Chihuahuas, collecting three hits, including a pair of doubles, but the Chihuahuas fell to split their season-opening series. The 26-year-old Batten, now in his third season at Triple-A, didn’t have a hit in 13 at-bats during big league camp as a non-roster invitee but began the year 8-for-24. After making his first four appearances of the year at third base, Sunday he saw his first action at shortstop as Eguy Rosario got the day off. … Brett Sullivan, acquired from the Brewers last week, had a pair of singles and has hit in each of his three games so far. The Stockton native was originally drafted by the Rays as an infielder but converted to catching in the minors. He’s settled in defensively in the upper minors after 50 passed balls in his first three seasons behind the plate but did have one get away Sunday. He also threw out one of three would-be base stealers. … Three pitches into his season debut, Reiss Knehr had given up a single and homer. The righty, who was one of the last players optioned off the big league roster, settled in a bit after that and ultimately allowed three runs on 74 pitches over 4.1 frames.
Missions 16, Corpus Christi 3
Key Stats: CF Esteury Ruiz 3-for-4, 2B, 3B, BB, 3 R; 3B Brandon Dixon 3-for-6, 2B, BB, 4 RBI, 2 SB (2); LF Robbie Podorsky 4-for-4, 2 BB, 2B, SB (1); SS Chris Givin 3-for-6, 2B, 3 R; RHP Thomas Eshelman 5 IP, 4H, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; RHP Carlos Belen 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K, 1 BB
Prospect Watch: Every Missions hitter reached base safely at least twice as San Antonio rolled to a 16-3 victory and took the season-opening series. Even with the huge run total, the club left 15 runners on base over the course of the afternoon. Esteury Ruiz led off the game with a triple, later adding a single, double and walk to his tally. He’s had six hits through the first three games of the season but has also struck out four times in 14 plate appearances. The dynamic right-hander could reassert himself as a prospect with a strong campaign after two straight seasons being hampered by injuries and inconsistency. … Robbie Podorsky made his season debut and reached base in all six plate appearances. The 27-year-old outfielder has always hit as a professional, amassing a .322 career average since the Padres selected him in the 25th round back in 2017. A series of injuries and higher-profile prospects have kept the Louisiana native from amassing more than 250 plate appearances in any season. Still, he is a spark plug for the offense when he’s in the lineup. … San Diego native Brandon Dixon, who signed as a free agent after spring training had opened, had a double among his three hits and led the club with four RBI. The 30-year-old, who spent last year in Japan after appearing with the Detroit Tigers in parts of the three previous seasons, will provide the Missions’ depth at all four corners. … Backed by the huge offensive outburst, Thomas Eshelman, another San Diegan, allowed just one run in five strong innings in his system debut. A second-round pick by the Houston Astros in 2015, the 27-year-old righty has logged 98.1 big league innings with the Orioles over the last three years.
TinCaps 13, Dayton Dragons 2 (F/7 Game 1)
Key Stats: LF Corey Rosier 0-for-2, 2 BB; CF Robert Hassell III 2-for-4, HR (1), 3 RBI; RF Joshua Mears 3-for-4, 2B, 2 HR (2), 4 RBI; 2B Jarryd Dale 1-for-3, HR (1), BB; SS Ripken Reyes 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R; RHP Ryan Bergert 2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 3 BB; RHP Alek Jacob 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 K, 0 BB
Dayton Dragons 5, TinCaps 1 (F/7 Game 2)
SS Jarryd Dale 1-for-2, BB; DH Joshua Mears 1-for-4, 2B, 3 K; C Brandon Valenzuela 1-for-3, BB; LHP Jackson Wolf 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 K, 3 BB, HBP; RHP Seth Mayberry 1 IP, ) H, 0 ER, 2 K
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps got back-to-back first inning homers from Robert Hassell III and Joshua Mears and never looked back in the opener as they trounced Dayton 13-2. It was the start of a huge day for Mears, who added a double and second homer high off the scoreboard beyond the left field wall in the first game and clubbed another double in the nightcap. The big man finished the series with four extra-base hits, eight strikeouts, a walk in his 13 plate appearances, a snapshot of his huge upside, and a large amount of development work awaiting him. At 21, Mears has some of the best raw power in the game, but his swing remains a work in progress. After missing time to multiple injuries last year, he’ll be challenged to make adjustments at High-A as the season progresses. … Hassell, who got the scoring started with an opposite-field blast, added a single and walk on the day and has reached base in seven of 13 plate appearances on the young season. The number two prospect in the organization coming into the year, Hassell hit in the two-hole for the opener and moved down to third against a left-handed starter in the second contest. … Infielder Jarryd Dale also connected on a homer and a double on the day while logging time at both second and short. The 21-year-old Australian had a .112 ISoP playing for Elsinore last year but has continued to fill out his frame and could see a spike in production this year. … Starter Ryan Bergert struck out the side in the first, but struggled with command over the rest of his outing, ultimately allowing three walks and a hit batter before giving way with two outs in the third inning. The righty sat the mid-90s and ran his fastball up to 97 at the top of the zone in the first inning but was at 91-92 at the end of his outing. Bergert underwent “primary repair” surgery on his UCL in late 2020 and only worked 11 innings in the complex league after the Padres selected him in the sixth round last year. … In the second game, Dayton got to Bergert’s University of West Virginia rotation-mate Jackson Wolf for two runs on a pair of singles, two walks and a hit batter in the second inning. In the next frame, they added two more against reliever Brandon Komar, and the TinCaps offense never got untracked.
Inland Empire 66ers 5, Storm 1
Key Stats: LF Pierce Jones 2-for-4, 2 2B; SS Jackson Merrill 1-for-3, BB, SB (2), CS (1), E (1); LHP Jesus Gonzalez 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 K, 1 BB; LHP Ben Miller 2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB; RHP Yerry Landinez 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 K, 0 BB
Prospect Watch: The Inland Empire 66ers got to the Storm bullpen late for the second consecutive day, claiming a victory in both the game and the series. Starter Jesus Gonzelez, 20, allowed just one unearned run over five innings in his first start since a Lo-A cameo at the end of the 2019 season. The 2017 international signee, who logged just 3.2 innings last year because of injuries, has bulked up considerably since his strong 2019 campaign in the desert and still shows the ability to spin the ball well from the left side. The Venezuelan-born hurler will be counted on as a workhorse in the Storm rotation this year. … Pierce Jones had two of the Storm’s five hits, collecting a pair of doubles in his first start of the year, while James Wood got the day off. The Padres drafted the Chicago-area product out of high school in 2019, and he posted a .970 OPS in the desert last year before getting a taste of full-season ball at the end of the season. Now 20, Jones will log time at all three outfield spots this year. … Jackson Merrill reached on a walk, an error and a single Sunday, marking the third time in as many games that he has gotten on base safely multiple times. The club’s first-round pick last summer, Merrill impressed through minicamp and Spring Training.