After a strong outing by Ryan Weathers, El Paso gets some late-inning fireworks to snap their losing streak. The Missions lost a slugfest in hitter-friendly Amarillo, and the Storm got a boost from two returning players. Fort Wayne got rained out again, and will try to make it up Saturday.
Chihuahuas 5, Las Vegas Aviators 2
Key Statistics: RF Nomar Mazara, 2-for-3, R, BB, 2B; CF Trayce Thompson 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (7), 2 RBI; 3B C.J. Hinojosa, 3-for-4, 2 2B, RBI; LHP Ryan Weathers, 4 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K; RHP Grant Gavin (W, 2-0) 2.2 IP, BB, 4 K.
Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas held on to win against Las Vegas to bring their record back to .500 (8-8). … Veteran outfielder Trayce Thompson had another multi-hit game and connected on his seventh homer of the year. The 31-year-old has homered in three consecutive games and is now one off the league lead. The right-handed batter, who plays a capable center field, has never finished a minor league season with a slugging percentage over .500. … Former Ranger, Tiger, and White Sox outfielder Nomar Mazara had a pair of hits, including a double. The 26-year-old has hit safely in all five games he has played for El Paso. During that five-game stretch, Mazara is hitting a cool .412/.565/.647. … LHP Ryan Weathers fired four shutout innings in his finest outing of the season. The southpaw scattered five hits and walked a pair before being lifted. While he was inefficient at times, tossing four scoreless frames in perhaps the most hitter-friendly environment in the Pacific Coast League is no small feat. He topped out at 94 with his fastball early and located it well, but both were more scattered with his slider and change. Through four starts, Weathers has a 7.36 ERA in 11 innings pitched. … RHP Grant Gavin picked up his second win of the season in relief. The minor league Rule 5 pick allowed just one walk in 2.2 scoreless innings. Gavin has been solid as a multi-inning reliever in the early onset of the season, pitching to a 4.50 ERA with three walks and 16 strikeouts in 10 innings. Gavin’s 16 strikeouts are tied with starter Jesse Scholtens for the team lead.
Amarillo Sod Poodles 11, Missions 10 (11 innings).
Key Statistics: CF Esteury Ruiz, 1-for-4, R, 2 BB, RBI, SB (10); 1B Brandon Dixon, 2-for-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB; 3B Yorman Rodriguez, 2-for-6, R, HR (2), 2 RBI; RF Agustin Ruiz, 2-for-4, 3 R, HR (2), 2 RBI, BB; C Chandler Seagle, 2-for-4, R, 2B, RBI; RHP Matt Waldron, 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, BB, 3 K; RHP Kevin Kopps, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, K; LHP Ramon Perez (L, 0-1) 1.2 IP, R, 4 BB, 3 K.
Prospect Watch: The weather conditions in Amarillo made Friday night’s game a wild one. The game-time temperature was 86 degrees, but with the wind blowing out at 35 mph, the game was interrupted in the first by a hail storm. The two teams combined for 21 runs, 25 hits, and four homers when the game resumed. The Missions lost in a heartbreaker, dropping their tenth straight. At 2-11, the Missions are tied for the worst record in all of affiliated baseball. Outfielder Esteury Ruiz singled and drew two walks to extend his on-base streak to 13 games. Ruiz also stole his tenth bag of the year, a result that leads the Texas League. Ruiz is fourth in the circuit with a 1.185 OPS through the season’s first two weeks. He was already halfway to his walk total from 84 games last season. … Third baseman Yorman Rodriguez had a pair of hits, including his second homer of the year. This season, the 24-year-old has been a versatile player for the Missions, appearing at catcher, first base, and third base. The former Blue Jays prospect has also been a solid contributor at the plate. Friday’s effort raised his OPS to .829. … Right fielder Agustin Ruiz had two hits and connected on his second homer of the young season. The 22-year-old has hit well out of the gate after struggling mightily last season in his first taste of Double-A baseball. Ruiz is hitting .300/.400/.600 with a respectable 22.8% K-rate. Last season, Ruiz struck out in 29% of his plate appearances with the Missions. … Catcher Chandler Seagle had his first multi-hit game of the season in the loss Friday. Seagle singled, doubled, and drove in a run. The 25-year-old backstop doesn’t typically supply much offense, but he is a fantastic receiver behind the dish. … Knuckleballer Matt Waldron battled the tough weather conditions and had a bit of an uneven outing. Waldron breezed through the first inning but allowed a two-run homer in the second after the delay. He surrendered two more runs in third before he settled down a bit. Waldron completed five innings and allowed five runs on nine hits. The 25-year-old hurler has allowed 19 hits in 14.2 innings. If there is a silver lining, it’s that Waldron has allowed only one homer. … RHP Kevin Kopps allowed a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. It was the first homer that Kopps allowed as a professional, and the first runs the former Golden Spikes Award winner has surrendered in five innings this year.
The TinCaps were rained out in Lansing. They will play a doubleheader Saturday.
Storm 2, Fresno Grizzlies 0
Key Statistics: 2B Max Ferguson, 1-for-3, R, BB, SB (11); SS Jackson Merrill, 2-for-4, 2B, RBI; CF James Wood, 1-for-4, 2B; RHP Jairo Iriarte, 4 IP, H, 4 BB, 5 K; LHP Jose Castillo, IP, H, 2 K; RHP Aaron Holiday (W, 2-0) 2 IP, 2 BB, 4 K; RHP Keegan Collett (S, 2) IP, BB.
Prospect Watch: The Storm pushed a couple of runs late to win in Fresno a night after being rained out. … Outfielder James Wood returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a hand/wrist issue. He went 1-for-4 with a double before being pulled late. It didn’t appear that Wood suffered a recurrence of the issue, so it could have just been to give him a little rest after a four at-bat night. … Second baseman Max Ferguson reached base twice and stole his 11th bag in the Storm victory. Ferguson, our reigning MadFriars Player of the Week, is fourth in the league with a .472 on-base percentage, and he’s drawn a league-leading 13 walks. … Shortstop Jackson Merrill had the game-winning RBI single as part of a two-hit night. Merrill is second in the Cal League with a .388 batting average. The 18-year-old shortstop has not connected on a homer yet, but he has shown outstanding plate discipline. He came into Friday’s game with the lowest swinging-strike percentage (4.3%) in the Cal League. … RHP Jairo Iriarte battled some command issues to keep Fresno off the scoreboard in his four innings of work. Iriarte walked four but allowed just one hit before being lifted. The 20-year-old Iriarte has had a massive turnaround in his second trip through the Cal League. Last season, Iriarte gave up 25 hits in nine innings. Opposing batters hit nearly .500 off of the Venezuelan. It’s been a different story this season; Iriarte has allowed opposing hitters to bat just .065 in a small sample. The righty has a fastball that can touch the mid-90s. … LHP Jose Castillo made his season debut and struck out a pair of batters in an inning of work. The 26-year-old hadn’t appeared in a game since 2019, thanks to an injury to a tendon in his middle finger and subsequent Tommy John surgery. Prior to his injury, Castillo was a talented reliever with wipeout stuff. If he can stay healthy, he could be a wild card for the big league team. … RHP Aaron Holiday took over for Iriarte and worked two scoreless innings to earn his second victory. Holiday, 21, was acquired by the Padres as part of the Sean Manaea deal. He’s racked up six strikeouts in 3.2 innings in his first two outings as a Padres prospect. He works with a fastball up to 95 and has flashed a solid slider.