On Thursday night, every team in the system except the Storm notched a victory. On Friday, the Storm were the only team to win. Baseball is weird sometimes. El Paso and San Antonio lost close games while Fort Wayne celebrated the arrival of John Conniff by getting shut out.
Reno Aces 6, Chihuahuas 4
Key Statistics: 2B Eguy Rosario, 2-for-3, 2 BB, SB (3); 1B Aderlin Rodriguez, 2-for-4, R; RF Nomar Mazara, 2-for-5, R; C Brett Sullivan, 2-for-4, RBI; CF Luis Liberato, 1-for-4, R, HR (3), RBI; RHP Thomas Eshelman (L, 0-1) 4 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 3 K; LHP Luke Westphal, 3 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 4 K.
Prospect Watch: El Paso fell behind 5-0 before making things interesting in the late innings. The loss dropped the Chihuahuas to .500 (11-11). … Eguy Rosario had his best game of the year, reaching base four times while extending his hitting streak to five games in the process. After a rough start, the infielder seems to be figuring things out. During the five-game hitting streak, Rosario is 7-for-20 with two doubles, two walks, and just one strikeout during the streak. In the five games before that, Rosario punched out 11 times. … Speaking of hitting streaks, outfielder Nomar Mazara has hit safely in all 10 games he has played. Mazara singled and doubled on the evening. The double was just one of just two extra-base hit the Chihuahuas had in Friday’s game. The former big leaguer has perhaps unsurprisingly torched PCL pitching, hitting .382/.500/.706 with three homers so far in 2022. … Outfielder Luis Liberato crushed his third homer of the year to account for the other Chihuahuas base hit. The former Mariner farmhand was in big league camp this spring as a minor league free agent signee. … RHP Thomas Eshelman made his Chihuahuas debut and was hit hard. The former Oriole allowed five runs in 10 hits in four innings. Eshelman began the year in San Antonio where he started three games. He doesn’t throw hard but the San Diego county native does have some big league experience. … LHP Luke Westphal threw three solid innings in relief, allowing just an earned run on three hits. Westphal walked one and struck out four. The former Atlantic League hurler signed with the Padres last season – his first appearance in affiliated ball since 2016. The organization brought him back this off-season and thus far the move is paying dividends. The 32-year-old has a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings in 2022.
Springfield Cardinals 7, Missions 6
Key Statistics: CF Esteury Ruiz, 1-for-5, R, 2 RBI; SS Chris Givin, 2-for-4, R; C Yorman Rodriguez, 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI; LF Tirso Ornelas, 2-for-5, 2B, RBI; 3B Connor Hollis, 1-for-3, 2B, R, BB; LHP Gabe Morales, 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, K; RHP Moises Lugo, 2.2 IP, H, BB, 2 K; RHP Mason Fox (L, 0-1) 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K
Prospect Watch: It was truly a game of peaks and valleys for the Missions Friday night. The team was down 5-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. San Antonio erupted for six runs to take a lead, only to allow two runs in the top of the eighth inning. The heartbreaker dropped San Antonio’s record to 6-13. … Left fielder Tirso Ornelas had a multi-hit effort after going hitless the previous two nights. Ornelas singled and doubled Friday; the double was his first two-bagger of 2022. In 2021, Ornelas led the Midwest League with 31 doubles. Ornelas’ multi-hit effort raised his average to .300 which is encouraging but Ornelas has a paltry 3.2% walk-rate and just two extra-base hits in 63 plate appearances this season. If Ornelas can start the drive the ball like he did late last season, he is still a guy to watch. … Third baseman Connor Hollis doubled and reached base via a walk. The 27-year-old signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent after being released by the Rays this spring. The former Houston Cougar signed with Tampa as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Hollis is hitting .207/.324/.328 in 16 games with the Missions in 2022. … After a rough start from LHP Gabe Morales, RHP Moises Lugo came in out of the ‘pen and kept the Cardinals off of the scoreboard for 2.2 innings. Lugo allowed a hit, a walk, and struck out a pair. After starting 19 games last year between Fort Wayne and San Antonio, the 23-year-old has worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Missions this season. In five games, Lugo has struggled to limit baserunners. He’s walked eight in 9.1 innings while punching out 11.
Roster Moves: The Missions announced that infielder Mitch Walding has retired. He was placed on the seven-day injured list back on April 19. The 30-year-old infielder signed with the Padres and experimented with catching this spring after spending last year in the Angels’ organization. Walding appeared in 15 games with the Phillies in two different stints, connecting on a single big league home run in 2018.
Dayton Dragons 1, TinCaps 0
Key Statistics: LF Corey Rosier, 2-for-4, 2B; CF Robert Hassell III, 1-for-4; LHP Noel Vela, 4.1 IP, 2 H, 5 BB, 4 K; RHP Brandon Komar, 2.2 IP, 2 BB, 7 K; RHP Nick Thwaits (L, 0-1) 2 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB.
Prospect Watch: John Conniff made it safely to the Summit City and has the game story here.
Storm 3, Inland Empire 66ers 2
Key Statistics: CF James Wood, 1-for-4; DH Lucas Dunn, 1-for-3, R, HR (1), RBI, BB; 3B Marcos Castanon, 1-for-4, 2 RBI; LF Justin Farmer, 2-for-3, 2B, BB, SB (7); RHP Garrett Hawkins, 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7 K; LHP Jose Castillo, IP, BB, 2 K; RHP Matt Swilley (W, 1-0) 1.1 IP, 3 BB, K.
Prospect Watch: The Storm got a two-run single off of the bat of Marcos Castanon to pull out a win against Inland Empire. … Lucas Dunn only had one hit but he drove himself in with an inside-the-park homer that was misplayed in the outfield. Jackson Merrill and James Wood have received the bulk of the attention this season among Storm players but Dunn has quietly been the best player for the Storm. He leads the Cal League in walks (20), triples (3), and his .469 on-base percentage ranks second in the circuit. … Justin Farmer had a multi-hit effort to extend his hitting streak to five games. The 23-year-old got off to a slow start but he has found his way over the last week. During the five-game hitting streak, Farmer is 8-for-17, with a double. The hot streak has culminated in Farmer’s batting average increasing from .140 to .219. … RHP Garrett Hawkins is pushing to be one of the system’s first promotions of the year. The big Canadian dominated the 66ers for five innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits adding seven strikeouts. In four starts with Lake Elsinore, Hawkins has walked just one batter while striking out 26. Hawkins’s 26 punchouts lead the Cal League. He is second in the league in WHIP (0.76) and he has allowed opposing batters to hit just .200 off of him. … RHP Matt Swilley recorded the final four outs to earn his first win as a member of the Padres’ organization. Swilley was a bit erratic, walking three but he displayed a fastball that is capable of reaching the upper 90s. Swilley is an example of persistence; his win Friday night was his first win in affiliated ball since August 10, 2010, when he was in rookie ball with the Tampa Bay Rays. The 31-year-old hurler is pitching in affiliated ball for the first time since 2015 this season.
Subscriber Content: We’ve got an interview with the Storm’s hard-throwing righty Kobe Robinson reflecting on his experience in the draft league, and carrying the legacy of his name.
Roster Moves: The Storm made a pair of transactions prior to Friday’s game. They placed shortstop Jackson Merrill on the seven-day injured list with an undisclosed injury. Prior to being placed on the injured list, the 19-year-old was hitting .393/.452/.518. First baseman/outfielder Cole Cummings was activated for the first time this season. The 23-year-old Cummings signed with the Padres as an undrafted free agent out of UC Santa Barbara last season. He played with the ACL Padres and the Storm last year and hit .311/.426/.563 between the two stops.