High-A Wilmington is no longer winless, taking the series opener over Carolina, 6-4. “It’s always good to get the first win out of the way,” said Blue Rocks manager Jamie Quirk following the game. “They played a good game. Offensively, pitching-wise, everything was good.”
The Blue Rocks collected 12 hits, including six doubles.
Austin Bailey and Ryan O’Hearn (the 2-3 hitters) each went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Bailey also scored two runs. Brandon Downes and Chad Johnson also collected two hits in the win. Johnson even stole two bases.
They also saw their first starter complete five innings. “It’s huge,” Quirk said in regards to their starter going five innings. “It allows you to get your bullpen in order. Getting five innings, and getting through it with the lead, was great.”
That starter would be Ashton Goudeau, who allowed two runs on four hits while striking out a career-high seven. At one point, Goudeau retired nine in a row and picked off a base runner.
“The first start of the year I had some jitters,” Goudeau said following the win. “There were some pitches that I left up. Even in the second inning I left a couple there that were up, but really after that second inning I settled in and was really able to get the ball down a little bit more and was more effective with my offspeed and it worked out.”
Derek Gordon, Alex’s brother (they do look alike in the face and have the same receding hair line) followed and allowed two hits over two innings while striking out three. Lefty Brennan Henry allowed two runs on two hits in the eighth, but rebounded to pitch a perfect ninth.
It was also a sloppy game, as the two teams combined for seven errors. Two were missed foul pop ups by the catchers.
So how about the rest of the KC Royals minor league teams?
Triple-A Omaha beat Round Rock, 5-2.
Starter Brooks Pounders earned the victory, becoming the first Royals minor leaguer to pitch into the 6th inning. He allowed a run (on a solo home run) on four hits (two were on the infield), a walk, and a hit batter over 5.1 innings. Pounders struck out eight. It was a very encouraging sign, as this same team clobbered Pounders in the next to last week of spring training.
Scott Alexander followed with two hitless innings of relief, before Brian Duensing allowed a run in the ninth.
On offense for the Storm Chasers, Travis Snider went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Whit Merrifield hit a two-run home run in the seventh.
Double-A NW Arkansas beat Midland for the second straight night, this time by a 5-3 score.
Down 3-2 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Mauricio Ramos cleared them with a double. Hunter Dozier and Cam Gallagher each collected two hits in the win.
Mark Peterson earned the win in relief, though it got dicey in the ninth. With two on and two outs, Peterson struck out the final batter of the game.
Eric Skoglund started in his Double-A debut. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks over 4.2 innings. Skoglund struck out seven and induced five ground outs. Andrew Edwards followed and allowed a hit over 2.1 scoreless innings. He struck out three.
*Zane Evans was a late scratch with tightness in his back.
Low-A Lexington had their opening game against Augusta suspended after two innings. The game will be picked up on Tuesday with the GreenJackets winning 7-0. Following that game, a seven inning game will follow.