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OKC Dodgers Game Notes - September 18, 2021

September 18, 2021 - Triple-A West League (AAA West) - Oklahoma City Dodgers News Release

Round Rock Express (59-56) at Oklahoma City Dodgers (59-56)

Game #116 of 129/Home #56 of 64

Pitching Probables: RR-RHP Chase Anderson (0-1, 3.60) vs. OKC-LHP Mike Kickham (0-3, 5.19)/RHP Ryan Pepiot (1-5, 7.53)

Saturday, September 18, 2021 | Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark | Oklahoma City, Okla. | 7:05 p.m. CT

Radio: KREF FM-94.7 The Ref,, iHeartRadio; Video:

Today's Game: The Oklahoma City Dodgers and Round Rock Express meet for the third time in their six-game series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. OKC has lost consecutive games for the first time this month and looks to avoid a three-game skid to start the current series...The Dodgers will take the field this series as Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City and Round Rock will play as Los Chupacabras de Round Rock throughout ¡Celebración Cielo Azul!, presented by OG&E.-

Last Game: The Round Rock Express scored six runs over the first two innings then held the Oklahoma City Dodgers to their lowest run total in 10 games in the Express' 7-3 win Friday night. Josh Jung connected on a two-run homer in the top of the first inning for Round Rock and Zach McKinstry answered with a solo homer for OKC in the bottom of the inning. The Express scored four runs on six hits in the second inning to extend to an early 6-1 lead and brought in another run on an OKC error in the fourth inning for a 7-1 advantage. The Dodgers scored a run on a RBI groundout by Sheldon Neuse in the sixth inning and Cristian Santana added a RBI double in the ninth inning.

Today's Probable Pitchers: Mike Kickham is scheduled to open tonight's game and make his second appearance and first start after an almost month-long stint on the Injured List...Kickham last pitched Sept. 13 in Salt Lake, marking his first game action since Aug. 12. He retired the side in order with one strikeout to finish a 12-2 victory...He shifted to the bullpen in mid-July after spending most of the season in the starting rotation...In four games against the Express, he's allowed four runs and 13 hits over 10.0 innings.

Ryan Pepiot (1-5) is scheduled to piggyback Kickham...He last pitched Sept. 12 in Salt Lake and was charged with the loss in OKC's 8-5 defeat. He allowed six runs (five earned) and seven hits over 2.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts in his shortest outing since joining OKC...Pepiot has allowed 35 runs and 45 hits over 29.2 IP during his last six starts (0-5). Prior to that, Pepiot had posted a combined 2.92 ERA, .145 BAA and 0.94 WHIP over his first 16 games of 2021 between OKC and Double-A Tulsa...Pepiot was promoted to OKC from Double-A Tulsa July 31. The Dodgers' current No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline made 15 appearances (13 starts) for the Drillers and posted a 3-4 record and 2.87 ERA. He allowed 19 runs and 30 hits with 26 walks and 81 strikeouts over 59.2 innings. Pepiot held the opposition scoreless in five of his 15 games and allowed no more than one run in 10 of 15 games. At the time of his promotion, he led the Drillers with 81 K's and had the lowest ERA among regular starting pitchers. His 81 K's ranked fifth-most in the Double-A Central...Pepiot did not play during the 2020 season due to the cancellation of the Minor League Baseball season, but spent part of the year at the Dodgers' Alternate Training Site on the campus of USC...He began his pro career after being selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Butler University, becoming the Bulldogs' highest-ever draft pick. Pepiot zoomed up to Triple-A, reaching the level after just 28 career games (23 starts) and 83.0 IP...Tonight is his third outing against Round Rock this season (1-1, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 14 ).

Against the Express: 2021: 14-11 2019: 6-10 All-time: 144-119 At OKC: 67-59 The Oklahoma City Dodgers and Round Rock Express close out their Red Dirt Rumble rivalry series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark...The teams last met for a rain-shortened five-game series in OKC Aug. 12-17, with OKC winning the set, 4-1...The first 18 games of the season between the teams were played at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, with the Dodgers going 10-8 in those games...OKC has won 14 of the last 21 meetings after opening the season with four consecutive losses to the Express in May, as well as 13 of the last 19 games. However, Round Rock has won consecutive games against the Dodgers for the first time since winning each of the first four games of the season May 6-9...The Dodgers have outscored the Express 130-120 this season, while Round Rock has outhit OKC, 214-202, with 36 homers compared to OKC's 34. The Express have homered at least once in 22 of the first 25 games...Only 371 miles separate Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark from Dell Diamond, making it the shortest distance between the Dodgers and any of their Triple-A opponents...With a victory tonight, the Dodgers will clinch a win in the inaugural Red Dirt Rumble.

Es Divertido Ser Un Fan: Throughout this series, OKC and Round Rock will take the field with their MiLB "Es Divertido Ser Un Fan™" ("It's Fun to Be a Fan™") identities - Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City and Los Chupacabras de Round Rock. In addition to players and coaches wearing Cielo Azul jerseys and hats during the series, the gameday environment during ¡Celebración Cielo Azul! will include Latin music, colorful and festive concourse decorations, specialty concessions, unique entertainment, live performances and a Spanish-speaking public address announcer for select games...The name Cielo Azul - translated to "Blue Sky" - was established in 2018 and derived from three key factors: Incorporating the color blue, which is a key component of the Dodgers organization; the vibrancy of Oklahoma's blue skies, and the breadth of the diversity of Hispanic and Latino culture that resides under those skies; and as a tribute to Dodgers legendary pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who looked up at the sky during his windup.

Stumbling Block: The Dodgers entered this series having won seven of their last eight games and nine of their last 11 games. But they've been handed losses each of the last two nights, marking the first time this month they've dropped consecutive games...With a pair of wins, the Express has pulled even with the Dodgers at 59-56, and the teams are now tied for second place in the Triple-A West East Division. OKC has not been in third place since June 28...Even with the last two defeats, the Dodgers have won seven of their last 10 games as well as nine of their last 13 games. The Dodgers are 9-5 in September.

Down in a Hole, Losin' My Soul: For the fourth time in the last seven series, the Dodgers have started in a 0-2 hole. Prior to Aug. 5-6 in Albuquerque, the team had a streak of 11 consecutive series with a least one win in the first two games...The Dodgers have only come back to as much as split a series in one of the first five instances they've lost the first two games. They're also just 1-4 in Game 3 when starting off a series 0-2.

Santana's Greatest Hits: Cristian Santana extended his hitting streak to nine games Friday, going 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. During the streak, he is 17-for-38 (.447) with two homers, four doubles, 11 RBI and eight runs scored...Santana has recorded two or more hits in five of his last six games, going 12-for-28 during the stretch...Since Aug. 1, Santana has a team-best 51 hits in 38 games - tied for third-most in Triple-A West during the span, while his .347 batting average in the same time period ranks third-best in the league...The reigning Triple-A West Player of the Week leads OKC with 93 hits overall and 28 multi-hit games this season...Tonight Santana will look to collect his third 10-game hitting streak of the season (previously July 23-Aug. 5 and Aug. 13-24).

Batting Around: After compiling 29 runs on 44 hits over the previous three games combined, the Dodgers' offense was held to three runs and six hits Friday night - the team's lowest hit and run totals in 10 games...Two of OKC's six hits Friday went for extra bases and the Dodgers have 47 extra-base hits over the last 10 games, but last night was the team's lowest extra-base hit total this month (14 games) and snapped a stretch of seven straight games with four-plus XBH. The team's 64 extra-base hits since Sept. 1 are second-most in Triple-A West (Reno, 72)...Entering Friday, the Dodgers scored at least five runs in five straight games and in 11 of the first 13 games of September.

Dinger Details: OKC has homered in 10 straight games, which is one game shy of the season-high homer streak set July 13-25. The Dodgers have hit at least two homers in seven of the last 10 games, including six of the last eight and four of the last five. They've gone deep a total of 20 times over the 10-game stretch...On the other hand, the Dodgers have now surrendered 39 homers over the last 26 games - tied for second-most in the league and just one behind the most since Aug. 19. Opponents have hit at least one homer in 21 of the 26 games, including the last five straight (6 HR). Seven of the last nine homers by opponents have either tied the game or given them the lead.

Cool Hand Luke: Luke Raley's career-high stretch of three straight games with a homer came to an end Friday as he went 1-for-5, but he has hit safely in four straight games, going 7-for-19 with three homers and eight RBI. He has homered five times in the last seven games and collected 12 RBI during that time...Raley has played in 21 games with OKC since Aug. 7 and is batting .322 (29x90) with nine homers, five doubles, 22 RBI and 20 runs scored, as well as nine multi-hit games.

Young Sheldon: Sheldon Neuse went 0-for3 with a walk and RBI yesterday, concluding a four-game multi-hit streak. He's now 9-for-23 over the last five games and has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games, going 21-for-61 (.344) with seven multi-hit games, 18 RBI and 15 runs scored.

RISPy Business: The Dodgers entered the current series Thursday batting .381 with runners in scoring position over the previous eight games, but they are 2-for-21 over the last two games, including 0-for-7 last night and 1-for-the-last-18...The Dodgers are 9-5 in September. In their nine wins, they've batted .412 (40x97) with RISP, but in the five losses they've batted just .136 (6x44).

Around the Horn: Pitching in the second half of a tandem last night, Aaron Wilkerson retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced over 5.0 innings, including the final 14 in a row. He currently leads the league in ERA and strikeouts while ranking second in WHIP and BAA...Zach McKinstry homered Friday night and has hit safely in his last four games with OKC, going 6-for-19 with two homers, two doubles, five runs and two RBI...Since Aug. 9 (21 games), Drew Avans is batting .344 (20x58) with a .457 OBP (OB 32/70 PA). During that time he has 18 runs and 10 RBI, with 11 walks against eight strikeouts...Matt Davidson hit safely in seven of his last 10 games, going 15-for-44 (.341) with eight extra-base hits. In his 16 games since returning from the Injured List Aug. 28, Davidson has 23 RBI and 11 extra-base hits (7 HR)...The Dodgers pitching staff did not issue a walk Friday for the third time in September and sixth time this season. It's the third time they've struck out at least 10 batters without allowing a walk in the same game this season.

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