Down on the Farm: April 9 (Zunica Continues Hot Streak, Luis Almanzar Hits Grand Slam)

Credit: Sod Poodles

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Credit: EVT Sports

Only three games were played today, as the Lake Elsinore Storm game was postponed due to heavy wind.

The three remaining squads went 2-1.

Here is a recap of the day’s matchups.

El Paso Chihuahuas: Lost 5-4 (1-5 on the season)

The Chihuahuas and Rainers were locked in intense combat for nine innings but, just when El Paso tied the game in the top of the ninth inning on a Josh Naylor RBI single, Phil Maton allowed a game-winning single to Tito Polo to unfortunately lose the game for El Paso.

El Paso held an early lead thanks to solo home runs by Ty France and Jose Pirela, but the Rainers got to El Paso starter Jerry Keel in the fifth inning to take the lead. Keel pitched well before the inning and totaled three strikeouts in five innings while allowing four runs on seven hits. Fernando Rodriguez Jr., the first native of El Paso, to play for the team, pitched two shutout innings while striking out four in his hometown.

It is a tough start to the season for the Padres’ Triple-A squad, as they have now dropped their fifth game of the season.

The team has been producing offense at a steady clip, but untimely pitching so far has been their downfall.

Jerry Keel: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, BB, 3 K (78 pitches-42 strikes) No Decision

Fernando Rodriguez Jr. 2 IP, H, 4 K (29 pitches-19 strikes)

Jose Pirela: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, Run scored

Ty France: 1-4, HR, RBI, Run scored, 2 K

Josh Naylor: 1-4, RBI, BB

Credit: TinCaps

Amarillo Sod Poodles: Won 8-2 (2-4 on the season)

Brad Zunica continues to mash home runs for the newly-minted Sod Poodles, and today it was the main ingredient in the Sod Poodles victory.

Zunica got the runs started with a two-run blast in the first inning to put the Sod Poodles up early.  After Buddy Reed drove in two runners with an RBI single, Zunica strode up to the plate and swatted yet another home run, this time good for three runs. In five games with the Sod Poodles, Zunica has cracked five home runs and is off to a blazing pace at the plate.

The RockHounds scraped a run off of Emmanuel Ramirez in the top of the third inning, but Reed drove in another run with an RBI single in the third inning and restored the seven-run lead. Such a significant lead was all Ramirez needed to cruise to victory, as he pitched six innings of one-run ball, striking out six and walking two while only allowing four hits. Andres Munoz almost closed out the ninth inning, but his shaky command came back to bite him, as three walks and a hit allowed a run to score before Kaz Makita slammed the door shut on the RockHounds.

Emmanuel Ramirez: 6 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K (87 pitches-53 strikes) Win

Brad Zunica: 2-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 Runs scored, 2 K

Blake Rogers: 2 IP, K (18 pitches-13 strikes)

Buddy Reed: 2-5, 3 RBI, Run Scored, 2 K, SB

Webster Rivas: 2-4, 2B, 2 K

Lake Elsinore Storm: Game Postponed

Thanks to some heavy winds, the Lake Elsinore Storm’s game against the Lancaster JetHawks was postponed. They’ll square off in a double-header tomorrow.

Fort Wayne TinCaps: Won 5-4 (4-2 on the season)

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the TinCaps had been struggling to find a source of offense and were looking for something to spark the bats. Luis Almanzar provided the spark with one swing of his bat, blasting a grand slam off of Dayton’s Julio Pinto to take the lead.

Dayton got runs off of TinCaps starter Angel Acevedo in the fourth and fifth inning, but Fort Wayne struggled to get runners across home plate until Almanzar’s slam in the eighth. Of course, Dayton tied up the game in the ninth innings thanks to a two-run homer by Bren Spillane off of Jose Quezada. However, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dwanya Williams-Sutton drove home Xavier Edwards with a fly ball double to center field to win the game for Fort Wayne.

Williams-Sutton and Edwards weren’t the only ones to have good performances at the plate, as Grant Little had three hits in the game to raise his average to .368 in the first six games of play.

Angel Acevedo: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 K (75 pitches-50 strikes) No Decision

Grant Little: 3-5, K

Luis Almanzar: 2-4, HR, 4 RBI, Run scored, K

Dwanya Williams-Sutton: 1-4, 2B, RBI, Run scored, BB, 2 K

Hazahel Quijada: 1.1 IP, 3 K (19 pitches-13 strikes)

Wednesday’s Matchup

El Paso: TBD vs TBD

Amarillo: Adrian Morejon vs. Brian Howard (Midland)

Lake Elsinore (Game 1): Tom Cosgrove vs. Will Gaddis (Lancaster)

Lake Elsinore (Game 2): Aaron Leasher vs. TBD (Lancaster)

Fort Wayne: Ryan Weathers vs. Jacob Heatherly (Dayton)

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