Tacoma Rainiers 7, Chihuahuas 2
Key Stats: RF Luis Liberato 1-for-3, HR (7); LF Taylor Kohlwey 1-for-4, 2B; 3B Eguy Rosario 0-for-4; LHP Ryan Weathers 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 10 K, 3 BB, PO
Prospect Watch: Ryan Weathers turned in arguably his best career start, striking out a personal best 10 batters while allowing just one earned run on three hits over six innings in hitter-friendly conditions in El Paso Sunday evening. Weathers relied more heavily on his slider than he has in any game this year, getting more velocity and tighter, later vertical break on it. He tossed it 33 times among 101 total pitches, and the results were encouraging; he got nine whiffs and landed it for a called strike six times. Tacoma did not put it in play once. Weathers also dialed his fastball up to 98 mph multiple times and was still at 96-97 at the end of his outing. The pitch usage will be worth monitoring, assuming he’s given the opportunity to continue to stretch out in El Paso. … While Weathers delivered, Eric Stout, who was briefly in the Padres organization in 2019, stymied Chihuahuas hitters, who managed just three hits on the night. José Azocar got the first El Paso run in the seventh when he reached on an error, stole second, and advanced to third on another error, then scampered home on a wild pitch which he read well off his secondary lead. … Fellow outfielder Luis Liberato connected on his sixth homer of the month an inning later. The 27-year-old lefthander had just one homer through his first 34 games but was hitting .290. Since returning from the IL, he has just a .232 average, but nine of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases.
Midland RockHounds 8, Missions 4
Key Stats: LHP Jackson Wolf 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 K, 1 BB; RHP Justin Lopez 1 IP, 2 BB; RHP Alek Jacob 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 K; LF Tirso Ornelas 1-for-4; SS Ray-Patrick Didder 1-for-3, HR (5), SB (12); RF Cole Cummings 2-for-4, 2B
Prospect Watch: The Missions dropped their second straight. John Conniff was on site with Mark Wilkens and has the game story.
TinCaps 10, South Bend Cubs 2
Key Stats: SS Jackson Merrill 1-for-6; DH Nathan Martorella 3-for-6, HR (12); 1B Carlos Luis 3-for-5, LF Justin Farmer 2-for-4, BB; RF Joshua Mears 2-for-4, 2 HR (8), SB (8), BB; RHP Jairo Iriarte 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 10 K, 0 BB, HBP; RHP Keegan Collett 2 IP, 3 K, 1 BB
Prospect Watch: After being held to just one run through regulation, the first six TinCaps to come to the plate in the 10th inning reached base before Joshua Mears launched a grand slam for his second homer of the game. By the time the dust settled from a Nathan Martorella blast, Fort Wayne had put a nine spot on the board and cruised to the series win. … Mears, who also drew a walk and stole his eighth base of the season, had exit velocities of 109 and 110 on his homers. The big outfielder went 3-for-18 in the series, with each hit going over the wall. He also struck out nine more times. On the year, 96 of his 160 plate appearances have ended in a walk, strikeout or homer. … Martorella’s 12th homer barely scraped over the left-center wall, but carried enough for his second round-tripper against left-handed pitching on the year. The 22-year-old first baseman has hit in five straight and now shares the Midwest League lead in homers and sits fifth with an .851 OPS. … Before the extra-innings offensive extravaganza, the story of the day was a master class in pitching from Jairo Iriarte. The talented righty struck out a career-high 10 batters over six innings and, for the first time this year, didn’t walk a batter. Showing a fastball that was up to 97 mph in the early innings but settled in around 94-95 deeper in the game, Iriarte worked over Cubs batters with his slider and several well-located changeups. The 21-year-old hurler got 23 swinging strikes among his 86 pitches. He’s now second on the circuit with 69 strikeouts in 55 innings, which leaves him just an inning short of qualifying for sixth in the Midwest League with a 2.95 ERA. … Righty Keegan Collett worked two scoreless, hitless innings as he set down three more Cubs hitters on strikes. The 24-year-old Texan showcased his big-breaking curve ball, which is one of the best breaking pitches in the system, for both swinging and called strikes. Collett, a 35th-round pick back in 2019, has struggled mightily with command throughout his career, but has found the zone with a bit more consistency as he’s dialed back velocity on his fastball in the last two months. The result has been a 1.86 ERA and .125 opponents’ average in 9.2 June innings with five walks.
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 7, Storm 1
Key Stats: RF Nick Vogt 1-for-3, 2B, SB (3); 2B Rosman Verdugo 1-for-3; RHP Miguel Mendez 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 K, 2 BB, HBP; RHP Dylan Nedved 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K; RHP Kobe Robinson 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, WP
Prospect Watch: The Storm offense was held to one run over four innings by Julio Urías, then fared even worse against a pair of Quakes relievers. On the game, the club managed just three hits and struck out 16 times. Elsinore loaded the bases on two singles and a walk against Urías, who has a 2.95 ERA and only one suspension for domestic violence in his big league career, but came away with just one run on a Nick Vogt fielders’ choice. They didn’t put another runner on until Vogt doubled in the fifth, and finished the game with the final 14 batters going down in order. Vogt, a seventh-rounder out of UC Santa Barbara last year, is hitting .321 in June. … Righty Miguel Mendez got roughed up again, allowing five earned runs over 3.1 innings. After allowing just one run over eight innings in his first two starts after joining the Storm last month, the 20-year-old has been torched for 18 in 12.1 innings across his last four games. He’s walked eight against seven strikeouts in that stretch, pushing his WHIP to 1.62 for the year.
The Arizona Complex League is off on Sundays.