Chihuahuas 9, Albuquerque Isotopes 7 (10 innings)
Key Statistics: DH Brandon Dixon, 2-for-5, 3 R, BB, 2B; C Brett Sullivan, 3-for-5, 2 R, BB, 3 RBI; 2B C.J. Hinojosa, 2-for-5, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI; 1B Kyle Martin, 2-for-4, R, HR (15), 2 RBI, BB; CF Thomas Milone, 2-for-4, BB; LF Reinaldo Ilarraza, 2-for-5, R, HR (1), 2 RBI; RHP Jesse Scholtens, 2 IP, 2 H, 4 K; RHP Carlos Belen, 2 IP, K; RHP Craig Stammen, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 K; LHP Ryan Weathers (W, 7-7) 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, K
Prospect Watch: As far as games in the PCL go, this one was a nine on the wild scale. El Paso led 7-0 going into the bottom of the eighth. However, Albuquerque was not going to allow this one to be easy. The Isotopes scored four in the eighth and three in the ninth to send the game to extra innings before El Paso claimed the win with a two-run homer in the tenth. By virtue of the El Paso win and the Oklahoma City loss, the Chihuahuas jumped into a first-place tie. The Chihuahuas have won seven straight. … That game-winning homer came off of the bat of one of the most unlikely sources, left fielder Reinaldo Ilarraza. The well-traveled utility-man connected on a two-run shot off of former Padre and LSU quarterback Zach Lee. It was Ilarraza’s third homer overall this season and first with the Chihuahuas. The 23-year-old has played for every affiliate but the Storm this year, posting just a .497 OPS overall, but he can play virtually anywhere in the field, which has helped him stay in the organization. He will be eligible for minor league free agency this winter. … Catcher Brett Sullivan had three hits Friday and drove in three runs as well. He has hit safely in all five games played this month. The former Ray and Brewer has been a steady contributor at the plate, in addition to seeing time in the outfield and at third base. … Designated hitter Brandon Dixon had two more hits, including a double. He also scored three runs and drew a walk. Dixon has hit safely in 14 straight games, including all 12 games he has played with El Paso. In those 12 games with the Chihuahuas, he is hitting .388/.444/.857. … El Paso used six pitchers to gobble up 10 innings, two of which came courtesy of Craig Stammen. The veteran reliever fired two shutout innings, allowing three hits while punching out three hitters. The 38-year-old veteran has thrown two innings in each of his last two outings as he progresses towards being activated for the stretch run.
Roster Moves: Outfielder Luis Liberato was promoted to San Diego for his first big league opportunity. To make room on the 40-player roster, the Padres designated catcher Cam Gallagher for assignment. Infielder Chase Valentine was brought up from the ACL to give the Chihuahuas infield depth. The 20-year-old infielder signed with the Padres last month as an undrafted free agent out of Central Arizona Junior College.
Springfield Cardinals 6, Missions 5
Key Statistics: 3B Ethan Skender, 2-for-4, R, 3 RBI; SS Kelvin Melean, 2-for-4, R; CF Joshua Mears, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI; RHP Thomas Eshelman (L, 3-5) 4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; RHP Edwuin Bencomo, 2.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 K
Prospect Watch: The Missions fell behind early before making things interesting late, but ultimately they lost in Springfield. … Third baseman Ethan Skender had a pair of singles and drove in a season-high three runs. The Illinois native has missed most of the season with an arm injury. That has been a common theme for Skender throughout his career. Despite being drafted in 2016, the 25-year-old infielder has only played in 160 games. When he has played, he’s been fairly productive; he owns a career .750 OPS. … Joshua Mears laced a pair of hits, including a double and a single. The single had an exit velocity of 108 mph. When Mears makes contact, he can hit the ball as hard as any player in the sport, regardless of the level. Even having only struck out once in four plate appearances Friday, he is carrying a 51% K-rate in 64 Double-A plate appearances. Despite the swing-and-miss tendencies, he still is one of the most exciting players in the system when things are working. … Veteran righty Thomas Eshelman started and got knocked around a bit. The former Baltimore Oriole allowed five runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts, and The two walks tied a career-high. Eshelman doesn’t possess high velocity, and he throws a lot of strikes. He’s walked just 11 batters in 109 innings between San Antonio and El Paso, but he’s allowed a staggering 157 hits.
Lake County Captains 6, TinCaps 5
Key Statistics: CF Justin Farmer, 1-for-4, R, HR (1), RBI; C Anthony Vilar, 1-for-4, R, HR (2), 2 RBI; DH Albert Fabian, 1-for-3, R, HR (4), RBI; RHP Jose Espada, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K; RHP Nick Thwaits, 2.1 IP, H, 2 K; Ethan Routzahn (L, 0-2) 0.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but Lake County scored three in the bottom of the ninth to steal the victory. Despite the loss, the TinCaps hit three homers. … Albert Fabian connected on his fourth homer with the TinCaps. The 20-year-old outfielder broke out earlier this season with the Storm, hitting .278/.362/.502 with 12 homers before being promoted to Fort Wayne. Since joining the TinCaps, Fabian’s walk rate has plummeted to 4.7%, and his K-rate has risen from 24.6% with the Storm to nearly 37%. Despite the struggles with Fort Wayne, this season should still be deemed a success. The left-hander, who has handled work in the outfield corners and first base, missed all but seven games last year with an injury and was late joining Elsinore this year as he dealt with minor issues. He’ll finish the year with over 400 plate appearances, more than doubling his career total entering the year. … Catcher Anthony Vilar connected on his second homer of the season. The homer was Vilar’s first hit this month after a solid August. The former Miami Hurricane hasn’t seen the field often this season, but he’s shown the ability to give the organization a quality at-bat. … Right-hander Nick Thwaits took over for the starter Jose Espada and was in a position to win before the ninth inning. The Ohio native pitched 2.1 innings and allowed just one run, striking out a pair. The 23-year-old has been excellent out of the bullpen all season for the TinCaps, but he’s found another gear since in July. Over his last 28.1 innings in relief, he has pitched to a 1.91 ERA. He struggled last season as a starter in Lake Elsinore, but this year, he has transitioned successfully into a multi-inning relief role.
Storm at Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Suspended
Elsinore’s contest up the road at Rancho Cucamonga was suspended in the third inning thanks to the rain that covered most of Southern California. The game will resume Saturday with the Storm trailing 6-2 in the third inning. The regularly scheduled game will follow as a seven-inning contest.