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Friedrichs Shines in Win over Travelers

June 23, 2019 - Texas League (TL) - Midland RockHounds News Release

Arkansas missed a scoring chance in the top of the first ... the RockHounds didn't, scoring three times ... and Kyle Friedrichs did the rest ... Well, almost.

The RockHounds right-hander tossed six scoreless innings, striking out 10 batters, and the 'Hounds survived a pair of late-inning Arkansas rallies to defeat the Travelers, 3-1, Saturday night at Security Bank Ballpark.

Luis Barrera wasted no time in extending his on-base streak to 23 games (see below), leading off the first with a home run to right field on an 0-1 pitch from Travs starter Darren McCaughan. Luke Persico followed with a sharp single to left and Chase Calabuig narrowly beat out a chopper to first base to put runners at first and second. Dairon Blanco reached on a fielder's choice and Tyler Ramirez ripped a two-run double to center field to complete the three-run inning.

McCaughan, who entered the game with the Texas League's second-best earned run average (2.60) settled in and pretty much shut the RockHounds down through his next five innings. After giving up five hits in the first, he allowed just three more the rest of the way.

Friedrichs escaped the first thanks to a shoe-top catch in right from Barrera and a bit of overly aggressive base-running from the Travs. Luis Liberato doubled to open the game and, after Barrera's nice grab on a line drive off the bat of Evan White, Kyle Lewis singled, also to right field. When Barrera's throw sailed wide of home plate (with catcher Collin Theroux partially blocking it) Liberato tried to score from third base. Theroux retrieved the ball and threw to Friedrichs covering the plate to get Liberato at the dish. Instead of first and third with one out, the Travs had a runner at first with two away. Friedrichs then got Logan Taylor looking for the first of his 10 strikeouts and went on to turn in one of the best performances as a member of the RockHounds (Kyle has pitched with the club in parts of four seasons).

Arkansas, which owns the league's best record (47-26), did not go away quietly. The Travs got back-to-back singles by Evan White and Lewis leading off the eighth and scored on a subsequent walk and wild pitch against reliever Zack Erwin. John Gorman then entered the game and gave up a walk to Joe DeCarlo to load the bases before Mike Ahmed's high fly ball (with the wind again at 20 miles-per-hour and blowing out to left field) settled into Tyler Ramirez's glove to end the threat.

The Travs got a single and a walk in the ninth, with another wild pitch putting the tying runs in scoring position, but Gorman closed the door when shortstop Kevin Merrell made a nice play on Taylor's sharp grounder to end the game.

The RockHounds and Travelers have now split six games this season - - the 'Hounds took 2-of-3 last weekend at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock and the Travs have taken 2-of-3 here with Sunday afternoon's series (and home stand) finale remaining.

Texas League Wrap

The RockHounds and Corpus Christi were winners Saturday night as the North and South split the four-game schedule. All four games went down to the wire, with two going to extra innings. The 'Hounds and Corpus are both 3-2 ... Frisco is 2-3 and Amarillo 1-4 in the second half.

- Northwest Arkansas broke a scoreless tie in the eighth to defeat Frisco, 2-0, at Springdale, Arkansas

- The Drillers edged Amarillo, 2-1, in 10 innings at ONEOK Field in Tulsa

- Osvaldo Duarte's walk-off home run in the 11th pushed the Hooks past Springfield at Corpus Christi

They had a potential "major league walk-off" at Whataburger Field before the game went to extras. The last out in the bottom of the ninth was made by George Springer ! The Houston Astros star is with the Hooks on a re-hab assignment (he hit two homers Thursday night).

Notables

Kyle Friedrichs entered the game with 14 strikeouts in 362/3 innings. He struck out 10 batters in six innings Saturday, easily surpassing his RockHounds career high of six and falling just one short of his Professional career high - - he struck out 11 batters with (Advanced-A) Stockton in June 5, 2016.

Luis Barrera (1-for-4, solo HR) extended his on-base streak to 23 games (40-99, .404). Luis has now hit in 17-of-his-last-18 games (32-81, .395) and in 20-of-22 (40-96, .417).

Kevin Merrell (1-for-3) has hits in 11-of-his-last-13 games (19-50 .380) with nine runs, two doubles, two triples and five RBI.

After seeing his eight-game his streak come to an end Friday, Dairon Blanco went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single. He then stole second and third, raising his season total to 20 thieveries in 26 attempts.

Sunday's pitching match-up (see below) is outstanding. Justus Sheffield , rated the Seattle Mariners' # 4 prospect, will start for Arkansas. The left-hander, a former first round draft choice (Cleveland, 2014), came to the Mariners in the trade that sent (pitcher) James Paxton to the New York Yankees. He has spent most of 2019 at (AAA) Tacoma and made one appearance in the Show with Seattle. The RockHounds will counter with the tandem of Grant Holmes and Daulton Jefferies , rated Oakland's # 12 & 14 prospects, respectively, by MLB.com.

Next Game

Sunday, June 23 vs. Arkansas Travelers

Security Bank Ballpark 2:00 p.m. (Gates open 1:30)

Family Day (Five tickets for $25 with a coupon from the Sunday Midland Reporter-Telegram

- Final of a four-game series and of a seven-game homestand

- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 1:47 p.m.

Probable Starters

ARK: Justus Sheffield (LH, 6-3, 2.60)

RH: Grant Holmes (RH, 2-1, 3.04) ) tandem with Daulton Jefferies (RH, 0-1, 3.48)


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