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RockHounds Shut out Travelers

June 15, 2019 - Texas League (TL) - Midland RockHounds News Release

A five-run first inning backed Matt Milburn's second consecutive quality start as the RockHounds defeated the Arkansas Travelers, 7-0, Friday night at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.

Luis Barrera tripled on the first pitch of the game and the next four hitters followed with base hits. All five came around to score as the RockHounds jumped on starter Ricardo Sanchez for five runs on six hits in the top of the first.

Mikey White, who went 4-for-4 (plus a walk) to lead a 17-hit attack, ripped his league-leading 20th double, driving in Barrera, and Tyler Ramirez followed with a single to right, putting runners at the corners. Dairon Blanco's high chopper to short turned into an RBI single and Greg Deichmann's opposite field double into the left field corner pushed the lead to 4-0. Kevin Merrell's two-out flair double to left scored Deichmann to cap the inning.

Milburn pitched into the seventh and, for the second consecutive game, did not allow a run (see below), extending his scoreless streak to 172/3 innings. Matt didn't exactly "go by the book," allowing leadoff runners in each of the first four innings. He pitched out of each mini-jam, aided in the third by a 6-4-3 (Merrell-to-Brallan Perez-to-White) double play. Arkansas put two men on with one out in the sixth but Milburn induced a pair of ground ball outs to end the threat and departed with one on and two out in the seventh.

Cody Stull faced and struck out three batters, ending the seventh and opening the eighth, and Angel Duno finished the shutout, the club's fourth of the season.

The win was the RockHounds' eighth in their last 10 games and pushed the club into first place in the remarkable Texas League South Division first half pennant race (see below).

The Pennant Race

Frisco broke a seven-game losing streak with a 5-1 win at home over NW Arkansas ... Corpus Christi fell, 4-2, at Springfield ... and the Sod Poodles lost to Tulsa, 4-1, at Amarillo.

The RockHounds (33-33) lead Frisco (33-34) by a half-game ... Corpus Christi (32-34) by one ... and Amarillo (31-34) by a game-and-a-half.

There are three games remaining in the half. For the RockHounds, that includes Saturday (6:10 p.m.) and Sunday (2:10 p.m.) at Arkansas and a Monday evening match-up with Springfield (6:30) at Security Bank Ballpark.

The Opponent

Arkansas has, by far, the Texas League's best record (42-23) and a lineup that includes five of the Seattle Mariners' top 30 prospects. The Travelers' ultimate strength, though is, pitching. The 'Hounds pounded out 17 hits against an Arkansas staff that entered Friday night's game with a team ERA of 3.26, almost a full point better than any other club in the league.

Notables

Matt Milburn's last two starts have played a critical part in vaulting the RockHounds back into the South Division race. He went eight scoreless innings against Frisco (June 8 at Security Bank Ballpark), part of the four-game sweep of the RoughRiders, and pitched into the seventh Friday night at North Little Rock without surrendering a run. Including the last three innings of his June 3 start at Corpus Christi, Matt has not allowed a run in 17 2/3 innings and has lowered his ERA from 5.64 (on May 18) to 4.36.

Mikey White went 4-for-4 (plus a walk) and is now hitting .292 for the season. He has hit in five straight games (9-21, .429) and in 14-of-18 (21-70, .300). Mikey leads the league with 20 doubles and continues to be remarkably consistent getting on base ... he has now reached in 37-of-his-last-39 (43-151, .285).

Luis Barrera (3-for-6, triple, run, stolen base) has reached base in 15 straight games (25-65, 385) and has hits in 9-of-10 games (17-47, .362)

Brallan Perez (3-for-5, run) has reached base in 10 straight games (16-37, .432) and has hits in 7-of-8 (14-28, .500) with five runs, two doubles, triple, HR and four RBI.

Greg Deichmann (1-for-5, double, run, two RBI, stolen base) has hits in six straight games (9-26, .346) with six runs, double, triple, HR, four RBI and three steals).

Kevin Merrell (2-for-5, double, run, RBI) has hits in five straight games (9-21, .429) with six runs, two doubles and three RBI.

The RockHounds struck out 13 times Friday night and now have 60 K's in 173 plate appearances in the first four games of the road trip (35%). That being said, the club is 2-2 with one of the losses (Thursday at Springfield) going to extra innings.

Next Game

Saturday, June 15 vs. Arkansas Travelers

Dickey-Stephens Park North Little Rock, Arkansas

First pitch 6:10 p.m.

- Second of a three-game series and fifth of a six-game road trip

- Radio: NewsTalk 550 with Bob Hards ... airtime 6:00 p.m.

Probable Starters

ARK: Andrew Moore (RH, 1-0, 4.24)

RH: James Naile (RH, 4-4, 5.94)


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