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White Sox Minor League Update: August 16, 2018

Michael Kopech had electrifying stuff and the Knights hit 5 home runs (none by Eloy) in support; Kannapolis scores 10 runs in strong overall performance

Master of Control: Knights RHP Michael Kopech struck out nine and walked nobody in a win on Thursday. He has a 59:4 K:BB ratio over his last seven starts.
(Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

Leading off: Good article here about Zack Collins becoming a true leader and developing good chemistry with Barons pitchers this season...

Charlotte Knights 9, Louisville Bats 4

Eloy Jimenez (.340): 1-for-5, infield single (does this hustle check a box?)

Matt Skole (.243): 1-for-4, HR (13), 1 RBI

Jose Rondon (.255): 3-for-4, HR (18), 2B, 1 RBI ***CO-MVP***

Trayce Thompson (.208): 2-for-4, HR (2), 2B, 1 RBI, 2 R

Patrick Leonard (.238): 2-for-3, HR (9), 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB

Brett Austin (.258): 1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, 1 BB

Eddy Alvarez (.258): 1-for-4, HR (7), 3 RBI ***CO-MVP***

W: Michael Kopech (7-7, 3.70 ERA), 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K ***CO-MVP***

This game had a little bit of everything including electrifying heat in the pitching of Michael Kopech, plenty of fireworks with five home runs from the Knights and even a benches-clearing situation. First, for Kopech, he earned the win by allowing just one run over six innings while striking out nine and walking nobody. In his last seven starts covering 44 innings, Kopech has a 1.84 ERA while allowing 39 Hits with a 59 strikeout to four walks ratio and a 0.977 WHIP. Of course, he’s not ready for a call up to the White Sox though (still boxes left to check or something). As for the fireworks, the Knights hit five homers including four in a six-run fourth inning as Matt Skole and Jose Rondon (who had three hits in the game) went back-to-back, then Trayce Thompson followed after an out with a solo blast of his own, and later in the inning, Eddy Alvarez hit a three-run bomb to cap the scoring. Patrick Leonard a home run in the eighth inning.

And then, of course, there was the benches-clearing situation after Louisville took exception to Kopech hitting one of their batters with a pitch, though you could tell from Kopech’s initial reaction he didn’t mean to do it:

Tennessee Smokies 11, Birmingham Barons 1

Luis Basabe (.234): 2-for-4, 2B, 1 R ***MVP***

Danny Mendick (.249): 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB

Trey Michalczewski (.257): 1-for-3, 1 BB

Bryant Flete (.238): 1-for-2, 2 BB

Ian Clarkin (5.88 ERA): 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K

L: Jake Johansen (1-3, 4.73 ERA), 3 IP, 4 H, 6 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K

Rough night all around for the Barons, who managed just one run on five hits while committing two errors that led to five unearned runs for Tennessee. The lone bright spots were starting pitcher Ian Clarkin who did not allow a run in three innings in his first start in roughly three months and Luis Basabe who had two hits, including a double, and scored the only run.

Buies Creek Astros 5, Winston-Salem Dash 2

Luis Gonzalez (.299): 1-for-3, 1 RBI

Nick Madrigal (.268): 1-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K

Blake Rutherford (.305): 2-for-4, 1 RBI ***MVP***

Gavin Sheets (.286): 1-for-3, 2B, 1 BB

Ti’Quan Forbes (.273): 1-for-4, 1 R

Yeyson Yrizarri (.247): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 SB (15)

Lincoln Henzman (3.65 ERA): 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

L: Connor Walsh (0-1, 3.68 ERA), 2/3 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K

The Dash held a very brief lead after a two-run third inning before Buies Creek tied it up in the bottom half and went on to defeat the Dash due to a three-run sixth inning. Luis Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly and Blake Rutherford’s RBI single was the extent of the offensive output in this one. Gavin Sheets doubled and walked, while Yeyson Yrizarri swiped his 15th base and scored a run. Starting pitcher Lincoln Henzman struggled in his three innings, allowing two runs on four hits. Relief pitcher Connor Walsh takes the loss as he had no sense of the strike zone. Walsh issued three walks and allowed three runs to score while only managing to record two outs.

Plus a little nugget from a writer for Baseball America:

Kannapolis Intimidators 10, Augusta GreenJackets 1

Tyler Frost (.244): 2-for-5, 1 R

Luis Curbelo (.226): 1-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 R

Steele Walker (.222): 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SB (5)

Tate Blackman (.247): 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB

Michael Hickman (.209): 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB

Justin Yurchak (.253): 2-for-4, 2B, 1 RBI, 2 R

Ramon Beltre (.172): 2-for-4, HR (1), 2 RBI, 2 R ***CO-MVP***

W: Zach Lewis (3-5, 3.05 ERA), 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K ***CO-MVP***

Starting pitcher Zach Lewis pitched an absolute gem and the I’s scored 10 runs on 12 hits to demolish Augusta on Thursday night. Lewis allowed just one run on four hits and struck out seven over seven innings to earn the win. And he got plenty of support in the process. 2B Ramon Beltre hit his first home run with Kannapolis, a solo blast in the fifth inning, drove in two runs and scored two runs to lead the offensive charge. 2018 draft pick Steele Walker had an equally impressive night with two hits, one RBI, a walk, two runs scored and three stolen bases. Following his heroics with a walk-off double on Wednesday, Tyler Frost had two more hits and a run scored. 1B Justin Yurchak also had a pair of hits, including a double, one RBI and two runs scored.

DSL White Sox 7, DSL Orioles 1

Harold Diaz (.290): 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R

Jose Rodriguez (.296): 3-for-4, 3B, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB (16) ***CO-MVP***

Jhoneiker Betancourt (.233): 2-for-4, 3 RBI

W: Cristofer Melendez (4-3, 1.52 ERA), 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K ***CO-MVP***

Nursing a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning, DSL White Sox scored two and grabbed a lead then added four runs in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach. Jose Rodriguez can flat-out hit and run. He had three hits on Thursday, including a triple, pushing his average close to .300 again. Rodriguez also scored two runs, drove in a run and stole two bases (Nos. 15 and 16 this season). Most of the DSL White Sox damage came from the top-four batters in the lineup with SS Harold Diaz doubling twice, driving in two runs and scoring a run and C/1B Jhoneiker Betancourt recording a pair of hits and driving in three runs. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Cristofer Melendez shut out the DSL Orioles for his six innings while limiting them to four hits and striking out seven.