In Thursday’s action, El Paso got walked off by their organizational rivals in Oklahoma City, John Conniff brought some mild (for him) weather to San Antonio as the Missions dropped one at home, Fort Wayne also met bitter defeat at home, but last week’s stepchild, the Lake Elsinore Storm, went and totally redeemed themselves.
Oklahoma City Dodgers 4, Chihuahuas 3
Key Stats: RHP Reiss Knehr, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; LHP Ian Krol, 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K; RF Taylor Kohlwey, 2-for-4, 3B; CF Luis Liberato, 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, BB; LF Shogo Akiyama, 1-for-4, R, RBI;
Prospect Watch: El Paso took an early lead before OKC rallied. The Chihuahuas tied it up in the top of the 9th courtesy of a Luis Liberato double, before watching the Dodgers celebrate a walk-off in the bottom half. Liberato, signed as a free agent in the offseason, is on a three-game hitting streak after a tough start to the season. The center fielder is slashing .144/.240/.322 in 90 at-bats for El Paso. … On the mound, Reiss Knehr – who I’m not sure has ever traveled heavy or ridden alone, as Billy Joel sang about another kid from Oyster Bay, Long Island – delivered a quality start for the Chihuahuas, rebounding from allowing five earned runs in his most recent appearance. May has been kinder to Knehr, who got off to a slow start as he returns to being primarily a starter after spending 2021 as a utility pitcher. In four starts this month, Knehr is 2-0 with a 4.64 ERA with 25 strikeouts versus 13 walks in 21.1 innings pitched. … After posting an 11.00 ERA in his first nine appearances for El Paso, all Ian Krol needed was a turn of the calendar page. The veteran lefty has made six appearances in May and has allowed one run in seven innings while striking out 10. … With his first triple of the season, Taylor Kohlwey is slashing .350/.443/.483 in 60 May at-bats. The 27-year-old outfielder is doing more of the same for El Paso, having hit .311 for the Chihuahuas in 2021. … Another base knock, another RBI, and Shogo Akiyama‘s hot start to his El Paso career continues. Signed by the Padres after being released by the Reds, Akiyama is looking to regain his footing after coming to America just as COVID shut down baseball and started a very strange first two seasons for the Japanese outfielder. Akiyama is slashing .333/.333/.485 in 33 at-bats.
San Antonio Missions:
Our own John Conniff brought the wind to San Antonio, and has a recap of tonight’s game.
West Michigan Whitecaps 4, TinCaps 2
Prospect Watch: Noel Vela struggled with command, throwing 60 pitches in 2.2 innings, locating 31 for strikes. The lefty’s ERA now starts with a “one”, a 1.55 mark in what is still a fantastic start to the season. He was replaced by Brandon Komar, who kept Fort Wayne in the game with 4.1 innings of scoreless relief, rebounding wonderfully after a rocky start last week. Komar, a 13th round pick in 2019, split his 2021 season between Fort Wayne and San Antonio before starting this season with a return trip to the TinCaps. … Coronado High grad Fred Schlichtholz made his second appearance of the season, and is now riding a four-inning scoreless streak to start 2022. The Fresno State alum, a 2017 13th round pick, split his 2021 season between the TinCaps and Missions. … Jarryd Dale recorded his second multi-hit game of the series thanks to a pair of singles, and scored both TinCaps runs. A native of Melbourne, Australia, who spent much of his 2021 with Lake Elsinore playing all over the diamond, Dale’s been focused primarily on shortstop so far in his time with Fort Wayne, slashing .294/.379/.333 in 51 May at-bats. … Brandon Valenzuela got off to a slow start at the plate after showing promise with the bat in 2021, but the catching prospect now has five hits in his last 16 at-bats across five games.
Storm 10, Visalia Rawhide 8
Key Stats: RHP Jairo Iriarte (W, 2-0), 5,1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K; RHP Matthew Swilley (H,3), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K; LHP Ben Miller (S, 2), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, K; DH Lucas Dunn, 3-for-5, 3B, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB, SB; CF Justin Farmer, 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB; C Victor Duarte, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI;
Prospect Watch: The Storm got a solid start from Jairo Iriarte, and managed to preserve the lead in what became a high-scoring affair, giving Iriarte his second win of the season. The 20-year-old righty has a 2.76 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched. … Oceanside’s own Matthew Swilley picked up a hold with a scoreless inning of relief. Swilley, 31, is back in affiliated ball after nine seasons away, signing with his hometown Padres in the offseason. … Ben Miller didn’t ride in on the Greyhound, but the Lodi native wrapped up his second save of the season. The San Joaquin Delta Junior College alum signed with the Padres after the 2021 draft and spent the summer in the Arizona Complex League. … Jump back, what’s that sound? It’s Panama City’s own Lucas Dunn having a night to remember. The 2021 eighth rounder out of Louisville came a double shy of a cycle, but drove in three runs and scored a pair himself. Visalia must be tired of seeing Dunn, who’s now recorded three hits in each of his three games in this series, going 9-for-14. … Justin Farmer, who entered the night hitless in the series, also homered as part of a two-hit night. Acquired after the 2021 Draft, Farmer also stole his 11th base of the season. … A pair of base hits has Victor Duarte batting .281 on the season, and slashing .292/.346/.375 in 24 May at-bats. The 21-year-old catcher was signed by the Padres as part of the 2018 international class out of Tucupita, Venezuela.