Chihuahuas 11, OKC Dodgers 7

Key Stats: SS Matthew Batten 2-for-4, 2 2B, BB, SB (8), E; 2B Tim Lopes 2-for-4, HR (7); 3B Jantzen Witte 2-for-3, 2B, HR (3), SF; DH Brandon Dixon 2-for-3, HR (7), BB, SF; LHP Jay Groome 3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 7 K, 5 BB

Brandon Dixon connects on another homer for El Paso. (Photo: Jorge Salgado)

Prospect Watch: The Chihuahuas pounded one-time Padre Robbie Erlin for nine runs on 11 hits in 3.1 innings to erase an early deficit, then picked up the victory as a quartet of El Paso relievers shut down the Dodgers. Eight of El Paso’s 13 hits went for extra-bases as the club now has a .492 slugging percentage for the year. … Brandon Dixon continued his assault on the PCL Sunday, connecting for his seventh homer in 76 Triple-A plate appearances. The 31-year-old slugger has a 1.168 OPS on the year. … Tim Lopes kept pace with Dixon atop the Chihuahuas’ home run leader board with a first-inning blast to start the home team’s scoring. The 28-year-old minor league free agent signee is on track to blow past his previous career high of 11 home runs and his .564 slugging percentage is more than 40% above his career mark. … The offense’s success masked another rough start for Jay Groome, who gave up five runs in just three innings Sunday. The 6-foot-6 lefty, who was in the mix for a big league rotation spot throughout spring training, now has a 7.99 ERA in across 32.2 innings in seven starts. Groome walked just 19 hitters in 51.1 innings in El Paso after the Padres acquired him last summer, but has already allowed 22 free passes this year. … Angel Felipe and Ray Kerr each worked a perfect inning with a strikeout to finish out the game. Kerr’s 12:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 9.1 innings this year reflects newfound command of his high-octane arsenal.

Luis Aviles elevates the ball in his first season with San Antonio. (Photo: Rey Holguin)

Missions 5, Tulsa Drillers 4

Key Stats: CF Daniel Johnson 2-for-5; SS Luis Aviles, Jr. 1-for-5, HR (2); LHP Jackson Wolf 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 7 K, 1 BB; RHP Kevin Kopps 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 K, 1 BB; RHP Jared Koenig (S, 2) 1 H, 3 K

Prospect Watch: The Missions rode a five-run fourth inning to victory Sunday, snapping a seven-game losing streak. Luis Aviles, Jr. had the big hit of the day with a three-run blast. After hitting 28 homers in his first seven professional seasons, all spent at or below Double-A, the 28-year-old has connected on 29 over the last two campaigns. … Jackson Wolf rebounded nicely from his rough start in the series opener, giving up a pair of runs on two solo homers, but striking out seven over four innings of work. The former West Virginia Mountaineer is tied for third in the Texas League with 36 strikeouts despite averaging less than four innings per start on the year. … Jared Koenig recorded the last four outs to pick up his second save of the year. The 29-year-old lefty, whose career has included stops in five different independent and partner leagues, pitched in the Majors in just his second year in affiliated ball last summer. He has yet to allow an earned run in 12 innings for San Antonio this spring and has struck out 18. Koenig’s younger brother, Ian, signed with the Padres as an undrafted free agent last summer and is pitching for Lake Elsinore.

TinCaps 6, Lake County Captains 3

Jackson Merrill shows off his power. (Photo: Fort Wayne TinCaps)

Key Stats: CF Jakob Marsee 1-for-4, HR (1), BB; SS Jackson Merrill 3-for-5, HR (3); LF Lucas Dunn 1-for-3, HR (2), BB, HBP, SB (2); 3B Marcos Castañon 1-for-4, HR (5), BB; RHP Ryan Bergert 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 5 BB; RHP Nick Thwaits 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB; RHP Jason Blanchard 3 IP (S,2) 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 2 BB

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps jumped out to an early lead and never looked back Sunday afternoon as they clinched their first series victory of the season. Jackson Merrill had his first three-hit game of the year, including a seventh-inning homer that was Fort Wayne’s fourth round-tripper of the game. He finished the series 7-for-23 with three extra-base hits as he looks to find his footing after a slow start and a stomach bug cost him in April. … Lucas Dunn homered in his second consecutive game and also reached base with a walk and hit batter. The University of Louisville product has already made starts at four different positions and DH for the TinCaps this year. … Ryan Bergert fought his command all afternoon, but held the Captains to just one run on a solo homer despite putting five men on base via walk. The 23-year-old righty has issued 14 walks in 18 innings on the season, but is holding opponents to a .177 average to support a solid 2.50 ERA. Bergert needed 85 pitches – 49 strikes – to make it through just four innings of work Sunday. … Jason Blanchard continued his strong start to the year, working three innings of one-run relief with three strikeouts. The Padres’ 2019 ninth-round draftee entered the year with only 47 professional innings on his ledger, but he’s worked to a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings so far, striking out 19 in the process.

Storm 10, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 9

Key Stats: CF Samuel Zavala 2-for-3, HR (3), 2 BB, PO/CS; RF Albert Fabian 2-for-5, 2 HR (4); 3B Graham Pauley 1-for-2, 3 BB, SB (5); 1B Griffin Doersching 2-for-4, HR (2); LHP Austin Krob 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 K; RHP Kobe Robinson 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 K, 2 BB

Prospect Watch: A pitchers’ duel through the first six innings exploded late with the Storm needing a seven-run ninth inning that culminated with a walk-off three-run homer by Albert Fabian to win the series finale with their division rivals. Fabian, 21, connected on two towering blasts over the high right field wall on the afternoon, doubling his season home run total in the process. A hyper-aggressive hitter from the left-hand side, Fabian’s OPS through the first month is about 100 points below his production for the Storm last year. … Samuel Zavala crushed a 3-2 fastball for a homer in the first inning and reached base three more times on the day as he continued to rebound from a slow start. The 18-year-old outfielder was carrying a .125/.286/.188 line after his first 40 at-bats of the year, but in the last 40, he’s pushed it up to .225/.356/.400, showing better pitch recognition and hunting in favorable counts. … Before both offenses broke out, lefty Austin Krob turned his best start of the year, allowing just one earned run over six strong innings. The lefty, who the Padres drafted out of Texas Christian in the 12th round last summer, has struck out 26 batters across 20.2 innings while holding Cal League hitters to a .184 average. Krob was limited to just 31.2 innings for the Horned Frogs in his fourth collegiate season last year because of a shoulder injury, but he’s been impressive thus far this season.

Posted by David Jay

David has written for MadFriars since 2005, has published articles in Baseball America, written a monthly column for FoxSports San Diego and appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He may be best known on the island of Guam for his photos of Trae Santos that appeared in the Pacific Daily News.

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