Chihuahuas 9, Sacramento River Cats 6

Key Statistics: LF Brent Rooker 2-5, HR (4), 3 RBI; 1B Aderlin Rodriguez 3-4, 2 HR (9), 3 RBI; DH Shogo Akiyama 2-4 HR (1), RBI; RHP Reiss Kehr 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 K; LHP Jose Castillo 1 IP, 1 K; LHP Travis Bergen (W, 2-0) 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K

Brent Rooker slides into third base

Brent Rooker had a big night for the Chihuahuas. (Photo: Jorge Salgado/El Paso Chihuahuas)

Prospect Watch: With one out in the ninth inning, Brent Rooker hit a dramatic three-run walk-off home run to give El Paso their third victory in five games over the River Cats. Rooker, who came over with Padres’ closer Taylor Rodgers from the Twins, was Minnesota’s first-round draft out of Mississippi State in 2017. The right-handed outfielder split time between the big club and Triple-A last season, posting a .931 OPS in 267 plate appearances with 20 home runs in the minors, but struggled to a .688 OPS in 213 plate appearances in the majors. This year, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Rooker, 27, is slashing .238/.333/.548 but also has a 39.6% strikeout rate. … At 30, Aderlin Rodriguez is not really a prospect anymore, but it is still fun to watch him punish baseballs. He sent two out of Southwest University Park Saturday, the first to center field and the second to right-center. He now shares the team lead with nine homers and has a team-high 35 RBIs and has a .242/.310/.517 slash line. … Reiss Knehr issued a season-high five walks, laboring through 95 pitches without getting through the fifth inning. The former Fordham star leads the Chihuahuas with 34.2 innings but has struggled with free passes giving up 22 so far. … Working back-to-back nights for the first time, Jose Castillo tossed another clean inning and recorded a strikeout. The big lefty has allowed one hit over 2.2 frames through the week and, assuming he bounces back well after throwing in three games over four days, could be available to the big league club at any time. He’d need to be added back to the 40-player roster to rejoin the Padres’ bullpen. … A quick note on El Paso: yes, the ball flies in Southwest Park, but it is a less extreme environment than Las Vegas, Reno and Albuquerque in the PCL, or than the Padres’ former Double-A affiliate in Amarillo.

Arkansas Travelers 6, Missions 2

Key Statistics:  CF Esteury Ruiz 2-3, 2B; RBI; LF Korry Howell 1-2, BB, SB (8); RHP Thomas Eschelman (L, 1-2) 5 IP 6 H, 4 ER, BB, K

Esteury Ruiz has been punishing the opposition this year. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

Prospect Watch: After blasting the Missions 9-1 the previous night, the Travelers scattered six hits and held San Antonio to a lone extra-base hit and will look to even the series Sunday. … The main focus point for the Missions, yet again, was Esteury Ruiz, who had his fourth straight multi-hit game. Ruiz is second in the Texas League with 41 hits, third in doubles with 11, and his 1.090 OPS is good for fifth. After hitting .249/.328/.411 for San Antonio last year, the 23-year-old has a .350/.500/.590 line through 155 plate appearances with 22 stolen bases in 24 attempts. This has moved well beyond being just a hot start. … After hitting just .173/.348/.442 in April, Korry Howell has been much better in May at .273/.541/.409.  Howell has also shown the defensive versatility to play around the outfield and up the middle in the infield.

Jarryd Dale has been the everyday shortstop for the TinCaps this season. (Photo: Jeff Nycz).

South Bend Cubs 11, TinCaps 7

Key Statistics: CF Robert Hassell III 1-5, 3 Ks; RF Angel Solarte 2-5, RBI; SS Jarryd Dale 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; 1B Olivier Basabe 2-4; Ripken Reyes 2-4; RHP Brandon Komar (L, 0-2) 2.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, BB, HR

Prospect Watch: Down 8-0 on the road heading to the fifth inning, the TinCaps put five runs on the board to get back in the game and got within one in the seventh before South Bend pulled away late. … Jarryd Dale, 21, drove in three as the Australian continued to bounce back from a tough opening month. In May, he is slashing .289/.341/.342 and making much more consistent contact. He’s second on the club with 24 hits, 10 which have gone for extra-bases. After logging time everywhere around the field last year, Dale has played all but two games at shortstop this year. At 6-foot-2, 210-pounds, there is probably more power to come. Robert Hassell III, 20, struck out three times in a game for only the second time all season. He is hitting .350/.421/.537 and has yet to be caught in 13 stolen base attempts.

San Jose Giants 8, Storm7

Lucas Dunn has played all over the field for Lake Elsinore. (Photo: Jerry Espinoza)

Key Statistics: 3B Lucas Dunn 1-3, RBI, BB; 1B Cole Cummings 2-3, BB; 2B Marcos Castañon 2-4, 3 RBI; LF Albert Fabian 1-4 HR (1) 3 RBI; RHP Victor Lizarraga 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; RHP Michel Baez 1.2 IP, BB, K; RHP Yerry Landinez (L, 1-1) 1  IP, 1 H, 1 ER, BB, 2 K

Prospect Watch: The Storm dropped their fourth in a row and fell to 2-6 since James Wood joined Jackson Merrill on the IL with a wrist injury. … Lucas Dunn is continues to be a key contributor for the Lake Elsinore offense. After a single and walk Saturday, he has a .283/.434/.453 slash line while playing around the infield and even left field. After making his catching debut earlier in the week, he’ll get an opportunity to do more work behind the plate in the coming weeks. Dunn leads the squad in hits, doubles and RBI. … Michel Baez, 26, made his fourth appearance with the Storm, again cutting a day off his layoff between appearances, and looks ready to move up. Baez, one of the big signings from the 2016 international draft class, is coming off of Tommy John surgery. The 6-foot-8 Cuban, a former volleyball player, has nine strikeouts against a single walk in 7.2 innings. He’ll be eligible to come off the 60-day IL on June 7.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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