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Daily Farm Report: Mercado Fuels Redbird Offense

Recapping Wednesday’s minor league action.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

All four active minor league affiliates were in action on Wednesday. Memphis and Peoria picked up wins while Springfield and Palm Beach dropped their contests. Here’s who performed (and who didn’t).

Memphis Redbirds 7 Oklahoma City Dodgers 2

Kevin Hergret (SP): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K’s

Oscar Mercado (CF): 3-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

Luke Voit (1B): 2-4, RBI, R

Randy Arozarena (LF): 2-4, RBI, R

Memphis jumped out to an early lead over Oklahoma City and never let up. The Redbirds opened the game with three straight singles, including an RBI single from Luke Voit. A walk would load the bases before Wilfredo Tovar hit a sac fly and Randy Arozarena singled in the third run of the inning. Starter Kevin Hergret was effective through six, with his only earned run coming on a solo homer by former Cardinal farmhand Breyvic Valera. Hergret was relieved by Hector Mendoza who tossed two scoreless frames.

The Redbirds piled on two more runs in the fifth with an Oscar Mercado homer to left. The home run was Mercado’s sixth on the season, raising his slash line to .329/.385/.491. His transformation from light hitting shortstop to intriguing center field prospect continues to be one of the best stories in the system. Randy Arozarena is back in Memphis, having torched Springfield in limited looks during his demotion. He is 3-9 with a double, two walks and five runs scored since returning to the Pacific Coast League.

The win moves Memphis to 28-19 on the year. They’ll close out the series against Oklahoma City tonight at 7:05 CST.

Corpus Christi Hooks 4 Springfield Cardinals 2

Conner Greene (SP): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K’s

Tommy Edman (SS): 1-3, HR, RBI, BB, R

Chris Chinea (1B): 1-3, R

Granden Goetzman (DH): 1-3, RBI

While Memphis jumped out to an early lead and never let go, Springfield dug a hole early and could never recover. Conner Greene got off to a rough start, allowing two runs in the bottom of the first and another one in the bottom of the second. Estarlin Arias came took over for Greene and gave up one run over 1.2 innings of work. Ramon Santos came in for the bottom of the eighth and worked a scoreless frame.

The Springfield offense could only muster three hits on the day. Tommy Edman’s third inning home run cut the Corpus Christi lead to 3-1. but the rest of the offense failed to close the gap further. Edman’s day at the plate was a welcomed sight, given the slump he’s been in recently. Across the last ten games, Edman is hitting .095/.136/.143 through 42 AB’s. The loss drops Springfield to 23-23 on the season. They’ll play Corpus Christi again tonight at 7:05 CST.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 8 Palm Beach Cardinals 4

Casey Meisner (SP): 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K’s

Juan Yepez (1B): 1-4, 2B, R

Danny Hudzina (3B): 1-3, 2B, RBI, 2 R

Dylan Carlson (DH): 1-4, RBI, BB

Palm Beach kept the game close through six frames before the wheels came off in the late innings. Starter Casey Meisner allowed limited damage, being charged for runs in the first and sixth innings. Meisner exited with the game at a 2-2 tie. The Palm Beach bullpen struggled mightily, throwing four relievers into the fire to get through three frames while allowing six runs. Jason Zgardowski, Eric Carter, and John Kilichowski each gave up a home run in relief. Only Robbie Gordon was able to work a scoreless appearance.

The Cardinals lacked pop from the top of their lineup on Wednesday. The one through five spots in the lineup combined to go 5-20 with no extra-base knocks. As a team, Palm Beach left ten runners on base. Juan Yepez and Danny Hudzina, batting eighth and ninth respectively, provided the only muscle for the Cardinals. Yepez, who tore up Peoria to open the year, is still struggling with the transition to High-A ball. Hudzina got a late start to his season but has done damage in a limited sample size.

Palm Beach is now 25-18 on the season. They open a series against the Clearwater Threshers tonight at 5:30 CST.

Peoria Chiefs 6 Beloit Snappers 5

Zach Prendergast (SP): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K’s

Scott Hurst (CF): 2-5, 2 2B

Dennis Ortega (C): 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, BB, R

Zach Kirtley (1B): 3-5, 2B, R

The Peoria-Beloit contest on Wednesday was a flurry of offensive activity. The teams combined for 28 hits on the day. Starter Zach Prendergast was able to limit the Beloit lineup to mainly singles and allowed only one run through six frames. C.J. Saylor entered in relief, promptly allowing three runs before closing out the inning. Bryan Dobzanski took over and threw two innings of scoreless ball.

The Peoria bats showed up in force, but it wasn’t the usual suspects driving the offense. Scott Hurst’s two double performance was one of his best since getting a late start to the season. Catcher Dennis Ortega has been impressive of late, batting .429 over his last 42 at-bats. On the year, Ortega is slashing .315/.407/..438 with similar walk and strikeout rates. It was good to see Zach Kirtley do something at the plate, since he was viewed primarily as a bat-first player coming out of college in last years draft. The Chiefs are now 24-19 on the season and will continue the series against Beloit tonight at 6:05 CST.


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