A COVID outbreak has the organization scrambling, with one game canceled and players across the system having to play out of position.

Chihuahuas 5, Salt Lake City Bees 4

Key Statistics: DH Luis Campusano 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI; LF Luis Liberato 3-3, 3B, 2 BB; 1B Michael Cantu 1-4, BB; 3B Kelvin Alarcon 1-2, 2 BB; LHP Aaron Leasher 3 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR; RHP Reiss Knehr (W, 3-3) 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 K

Luis Campusano has shown improvement behind the plate. (Photo: Jorge Salgado).

Prospect Watch: In Salt Lake City, the Chihuahuas got a tie-breaking home run by Luis Liberato in the top of the ninth the held on to escape a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning for win. … Luis Campusano collected two more hits as the designated hitter and has continued to pound the ball for a .331/.398/.525 line. Defensively behind the dish, he has also thrown out 10 of 26 baserunners attempting to steal. Coming into the season, there wasn’t a whole lot for Campusano to prove offensively, but he has also continued to improve defensively as he waits for another shot at the big leagues. C.J. Abrams made his second start in center for El Paso and handled a relatively quiet day in the field well. He went 1-for-5 at the plate with a stolen base. … Michael Cantu made his first start this year at first base as the Chihuahuas had to juggle to cobble together a lineup. … Reiss Knehr got the win in his second appearance out of the bullpen this year. He is striking out a batter an inning, but has walked 30 in 49.2 innings, and given up 13 home runs among a lot of hard contact to post a 6.89 ERA. … Jordan Brink left the game after just one third of an inning. The righty appeared to sustain a side/lat injury throwing a pitch.

Missions, Tulsa Drillers (Canceled)

The Missions released a statement before the game stating that the game between the Tulsa Drillers and the Missions had been postponed in adherence to Minor League Baseball’s health and safety protocols. Later, it was announced that the remainder of the series has been canceled. The team had played Saturday with only one available batter on the bench.

Nick Thwaits has looked good for the TinCaps in 2022. (Photo: Jeff Nycz)

TinCaps 8, Great Lakes Loons 7

Key Statistics: 3B Lucas Dunn 2-4, Grand Slam HR (2), BB; LF Olivier Basabe 2-3 HR (2), BB, SB (5); CF Matthew Acosta 1-3 HR (2), 2 BB, SB (3); LHP Jackson Wolf 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 HR; RHP Nick Thwaits (W, 2-2) 3.1 IP, 2 H, 3 K; LHP Gabe Morales (S,1) 1 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 2 K

Prospect Watch: Lucas Dunn blasted a first-inning grand slam, and Olivier Basabe and Matthew Acosta also homered as the TinCaps have now won two of the first five games of the series. The Loons trailed the entire game but put the tying and go-ahead runners on the corners with one out in the ninth. Lefty Gabriel Morales came back to get the final two outs to secure his second professional save. … Fort Wayne is playing without three Top 20 prospects with Robert Hassell III and Corey Rosier on the COVID-19 List, and Joshua Mears on the Development List. That has opened up some opportunities for others. In his first five games with the TinCaps, Dunn has a pair of home runs and a double for a .316/.391/.684 slash line, and is already providing value with his defensive versatility. With Fort Wayne, he has played first and third base, but with Lake Elsinore, he also saw time at both corners in the outfield, second base, and catcher. In 180 plate appearances with the Storm, the former University of Louisville Cardinal slashed .293/.422/.507. … Nick Thwaits turned in 3.1 innings of relief work, his longest appearance of the year. Eight of his thirteen appearances have been for more than one inning. This year he has shown significant improvement with a 3.57 ERA after posting a 7.03 mark working mainly as a starter with the Storm.  In Fort Wayne, he has 23 strikeouts in 22.2 innings against only 10 walks.

Victor Lizarraga has been working to develop his breaking ball. (Photo: Dylan Otto/Insta: DylanOtto13)

Storm 3Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 2

Key Statistics: LF Albert Fabian 1-3, BB; 1B Jared Alvarez-Lopez 1-3, RBI, BB; RF Kervin Pichardo 1-4, RBI; RHP Victor Lizarraga (W, 2-1) 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K; RHP Aaron Holiday 3 IP, H, BB, 6 K

Prospect Watch:  The Storm only managed three hits on the day but took advantage of seven walks and a strong outing by 18-year-old Victor Lizarraga to even the series. Lizarraga threw 79 pitches – 50 for strikes – while making it through five innings for the second straight outing. With more restrictive pitch counts earlier in the year, he had made it that far just once in his first seven starts. He has the lowest ERA of any Storm starter at 3.72. … As with the TinCaps, injuries and promotions have also opened up opportunities for some less-heralded players. Albert Fabian, 20, is having a big series with six hits against the Quakes. The left-hander has played both outfield corners and first base. … Aaron Holiday, 22, who came over in the Sean Manea trade, continues to impress with the Storm. He was drafted by Oakland in the 13th round from Old Dominion last year and posted big strikeout (43) and walk (32) totals his first 28 professional innings. This year, he’s improved the ratio of strikeouts to walks to 30:11 and has allowed only three earned runs in 21.2 innings for a 1.25 ERA.

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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