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White Sox Minor League Update: July 4, 2019

Two walk-off winners in Charlotte and Birmingham, and some great pitching in the lower minors spelled a great day for the prospects

Walking off a win: Blake Rutherford crushed his fifth homer of the year to win it for Birmingham
Tiffany Wintz/South Side Sox

Charlotte Knights 3, Norfolk Tide 2

Danny Mendick: 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K, CS (6) (.268 BA, .787 OPS)
Adam Engel: 1-for-4, GWRBI, 1 BB (.267 BA, .806 OPS) **MVP**
Yermin Mercedes: 1-for-4, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (.342 BA, 1.065 OPS)
Seby Zavala: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 3 K (.234 BA, .770 OPS)
Justin Nicolino: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (4.48 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)

The second straight night where a Knights pitcher has a great start, and got no run support. Justin Nicolino went seven innings and only allowed two runs. He did get hit often but worked out of difficult situations, as the Tide were 1-for-6 with RISP. Charlotte bats took six innings before scoring. They were 0-for-8 with RISP before the seventh, but improved on that late, as Danny Mendick singled in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded to tie the game 2-2. Thanks to two sold innings from Thyago Vieira, the game stayed tied long enough for Adam Engel to hit a walk-off single to win the game, 3-2.

Birmingham Barons 8, Pensacola Blue Wahoos 5 (10)

Luis Robert: 2-for-5, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3 SB (.314 BA, .867 OPS)
Nick Madrigal: 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 SB (.398 BA, .946 OPS)
Blake Rutherford: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.255 BA, .658 OPS) **MVP**
Gavin Sheets: 3-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.273 BA, .749 OPS)
Luis González: 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K (.238 BA, .641 OPS)
John Parke: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (4.00 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)

The Barons got out to a quick lead in this game, with three runs in the first inning. Gavin Sheets, keeping his hot streak going, drove in the first run with a double. Ti’Quan Forbes and Luis González added the other two on base hits, pushing the Birmingham lead to three. However, John Parke got into some trouble in the innings after. He allowed four runs over the next three frames, as the Barons lost the lead. But then, Nick Madrigal and Luis Robert started running, a lot. Robert ended the day with three stolen bases, while Madrigal had two. The Barons would end up tying the game and retaking the lead in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively. Sheets hit another double for his second RBI and Blake Rutherford added his first. However, the save was blown in the ninth inning, but it led to a much more exciting ending: With two runners on, Rutherford launched his fifth homer of the year, a walk-off in the 10th inning.

Fayetteville Woodpeckers 4, Winston-Salem Dash 2

Mitch Roman: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 SB (.310 BA, .763 OPS) **MVP**
Steele Walker: 1-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K (.275 BA, .777 OPS)
Jonathan Stiever: 6 IP, R H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K (2.84 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Tonight Jonathan Stiever was, in a word, fine. He got the quality start, he didn’t walk anybody and struck out eight over six innings, that is not too shabby. The three runs he allowed though, were off of two homers, so he was not that great and it wasn’t enough for a win. The offense actually outhit Fayetteville by one, but the homers doomed the Dash. Mitch Roman and Steele Walker had the two extra-base hits in the lineup, and for Roman, that XBH drove in a run. But there was not much run production besides that. Roman came around to score that same inning on a wild pitch, and that was all the offensive production. It was just a night the Dash bats couldn’t get enough good wood on the ball, and they never walked.

Kannapolis Intimidators 3, Augusta GreenJackets 1

Ian Dawkins: 1-for-4, 0 BB, 2 K (.321 BA, .812 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K (.233 BA, .623 OPS)
Bryce Bush: 1-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K (.213 BA, .672 OPS)
Sam Long: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (3.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) **MVP**

More great pitching in the system here in Kannapolis, as Sam Long led the way to an I’s victory. He threw six shutout innings and only allowed five runners on base. Long did not seem to be overpowering, with five Ks, but his defense came up with a timely double play. The Intimidators offense, though not dominant, got just enough done to get the win. The first run came off of a throwing error, but actual hits sealed the win. Gunnar Troutwine hit his second homer of the season to push the lead to two, and what would end up being the GWRBI. Corey Zangari added some insurance in the seventh with an RBI single, but at that point the win was already clear.

Great Falls Voyagers 6, Billings Mustangs 3

Caberea Weaver: 3-for-4, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.250 BA, .652 OPS)
Anderson Comas: 2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.226 BA, .670 OPS) **MVP**
Jason Morgan: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (5.63 ERA,

What started off as a bummer of a game ended up being a big win for the Voyagers. In the first inning, Jason Morgan allowed two runs, but that was it for the other eight innings. Morgan would fire four straight shutout frames, and the bullpen finished the game just as tidily. It took Great Falls a little bit to get going, but they scored six runs in the middle three innings, including a four-run sixth. Caberea Weaver has three hits by then and Anderson Comas had himself a day. He had two extra-base hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth. That homer was Comas’ first of the season, and that was that.

AZL White Sox 6, AZL Athletics 2

James Beard: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K (.233 BA, .676 OPS)
DJ Gladney: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.344 BA, 1.016 OPS) **MVP**
Avery Weems: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (0.69 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Both early-afternoon rookie games ended at 6-2, in the White Sox favor. Like in the DSL game to come, the offense had a lot of help in winning the game. The White Sox were outhit 6-4 in Arizona, but thanks to three errors from the Athletics, the game was really never close. After allowing a run in the first, the AZL Sox scored five unanswered runs in the first and second innings. DJ Gladney opened (and, eventually, closed) the scoring with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. In the second, the Sox added four runs. The first was off an error, the second was an RBI single by James Beard, the third and fourth came because of a passed ball. Man, a two-run passed ball is one horrible passed ball! The bullpen game from the AZL Sox was a huge success. They only allowed one run off of six hits. The staff also struck out 16 batters over the course of their dominant performance. To cap off the day, Gladney added a solo homer, his fourth as a pro.

DSL White Sox 6, DSL Diamondbacks 2

Anthony Espinoza: 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (.250 BA, .696 OPS)
Johnabiell Laureano: 3-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K (.382 BA, 1.023 OPS) **MVP**
Luis Pineda: 0-for-3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K (.189 BA, .556 OPS)
Manuel Veloz: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)

Since the information coming from the DSL is limited, I am not sure the White Sox staff used Manuel Veloz as an opener or if he was pulled early, but it worked out. He faced three batters in the first inning and struck out all three. Carlos Mola entered the game in the next inning and didn’t get off to the best start as he allowed a run, but the offense picked him up (kind of) and he was great for the rest of his outing. Why I used kind of was because the first three runs the White Sox scored was not because of how good the bats were. They scored on a Diamondbacks throwing error and two passed balls that gave them a 3-1 lead. That was all thee scoring they needed, but the actual offense piled it on, capped off by an Anthony Espinoza RBI single. It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but the DSL Sox got the job done.