July 4, 2013 - South Atlantic League (SAL) - Kannapolis Intimidators
Today\'s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) head west to Hickory for a four-game set against the power-hitting Crawdads (A, Rangers). Hickory\'s offense includes two of the top three home run hitters in the Minors including Minor League leader Joey Gallo, who has hit 25 home runs this season, seven fewer than the Intimidators as a team. Today Jefferson Olacio takes the ball for his third start of the season against the Crawdads as fellow left-hander Andrew Faulkner toes the rubber for Hickory.
Intimidating Starter: Jefferson Olacio, 19, makes his 15th start of the season and third against Hickory. He has worked better at home, going 2-4 with a 5.30 ERA in eight games (seven starts) compared to going 1-5 with a 7.59 ERA in seven road starts, including a 7-inning complete game in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Hagerstown on June 5. Olacio has improved in June, posting a 4.58 ERA (10 ER/19.2 IP) this month after struggling in April and May with a 7.63 ERA through his first 10 games. He is coming off a loss in a quality start to the Greenville Drive, allowing two runs over 6.0 inings while striking out a season-high tying six batters. This season, he is 0-2 with a 17.60 ERA (15 ER/7.2 IP) in two starts against the Crawdads. Including two starts last season, Olacio is 0-4 in starts against Hickory.
Hickory\'s Hurler: Andrew Faulkner, 20, makes his ninth start of the season and his second against Kannapolis after joining the Crawdads in mid-May. The Aiken, S.C., native allowed three runs on eight hits over 4.1 innings against the Intimidators on May 26. He is coming off losses in his last two decisions spanning three starts. In 2012, Faulkner went 5-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 29 games (10 starts) for Hickory, including two appearances (one start) against Kannapolis, going 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA (4 ER/6 IP). The Rangers selected Faulkner in the 14th round of the June 2011 draft out of South Aiken (S.C.) High School and sent him to the AZL Rangers, where he went 0-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 12 games (seven starts) in his pro debut.
About Last Night: Kendry Flores struck out a career-high 11 batters and the GreenJackets backed him up with a four-run third inning en route to a 6-1 win over the Intimidators. Flores combined with two relievers to fan 16 batters, a new season-high in strikeouts for Kannapolis. Flores (6-5) worked 7.0 scoreless innings while allowing two hits and a walk to earn the win. He surpassed his old career-high of 10 strikeouts, set June 20 against Kannapolis in Augusta. Ian Gardeck struck out the side in a perfect eighth inning, and Matt Lujan fanned two more in the ninth. Kannapolis starter Braulio Ortiz struck out a career-high six batters but walked five, also a career-high. Three of the five batters he walked crossed the plate, including two in the third inning. Ortiz (0-3) suffered his second loss to Augusta, lasting just 4.0 innings and allowing five runs on six hits. Augusta plated four runs in the third. Alberto Robles drew a leadoff walk and Jesus Galindo followed with a base hit. Andrew Cain drove in the games first run with a groundout, and Matt Duffy followed with a run-scoring single. Mitch Delfino added a sac-fly, and Joey Rapp drove in a run with a base hit for a 4-0 edge. Trevor Brown singled to cash Galindo in the fourth inning to extended the Augusta advantage. Zach Isler entered the game in relief of Braulio Ortiz and tossed 4.0 scoreless frames before getting into trouble in the ninth. He recorded two outs in the final frame but walked three batters, ending his night after 4 2/3 innings. The Intimidators did not score until Keon Barnum\'s RBI- groundout cashed Tim Anderson in the ninth inning.
Dashing to the Dash: Micah Johnson, who leads all Minor Leagues in stolen bases and runs scored, earned a promotion to Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem on Wednesday. Johnson, 22, hit .342 (104-304) with 17 doubles, 11 triples, six home runs and 42 RBI while stealing 61 bases in 77 games with Kannapolis. At the time of his promotion, the White Sox ninth round pick in the June 2012 draft, Johnson led the SAL in stolen bases, runs scored (76) and triples, ranks second in hits, third in bating average, on-base percentage (.422) and total bases (351), tied for third in total bases (161), fourth in at-bats, tied for seventh in games played, extra-base hits (34), ninth in walks (40) and slugging percentage (.530). The SAL All-Star Game MVP becomes the 10th player to go from Kannapolis to Winston-Salem this season.
Roster Moves: The Intimidators promoted right-hander reliever David Cales to Double-A Birmingham today and received right-hander Cal Bowling from Advanced Rookie Bristol. Cales went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in four relief appearances with Kannapolis, striking out 10 batters over 4.1 innings, allowing an unearned run on six hits while walking two. Cal Bowling ranks second in the Appalachian League among relievers in highest strikeouts/9 IP ratio, with nine strikeouts over 4.1 innings with Bristol. In three games with the BriSox, he is 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA (2 ER/4.1 IP) this season.
Radio Broadcasts: Tonight\'s Intimidators game can be heard via the Hickory Crawdads broadcast at hickorycrawdads.com. Friday through Sunday\'s games in Hickory will be carried live via IntimidatorsBaseball.com. All Intimidators home games are broadcast live at IntimidatorsBaseball.com.