Friday, April 15, 2011

SPORTS>>RockHounds rough on Travs

Leader sports editor

Midland RockHounds starter Carlos Hernandez set the tone that silenced the Arkansas Travelers 3-0 in their home opener at Dickey-Stephens Park on Thursday night.

Hernandez retired 13 consecutive Travelers before reaching his pitch count leaving in the sixth inning, and Midland held Arkansas to just two hits beforean announced crowd of 5,734.

Arkansas (2-5) fell to 0-4 against Midland after dropping the season opening series there last week.

The left-handed Hernandez (2-0) pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up one hit while striking out seven and walking one. Neil Wagner pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, before Jared Lansford pitched the ninth for his first save.

Midland scored three runs in the top of the sixth off right-handed reliever Daniel Sattler (0-1), who came in after left-handed starter Trevor Reckling pitched five scoreless innings, giving up two hits, two walks, and striking out two.

Reckling threw 86 pitches and was also pulled because of the early-season pitch counts.

Sattler walked leadoff man Jermaine Mitchell to start the sixth and Mitchell advanced to second on a throwing error by Sattler. Shortstop Grant Green followed with a single to right field and left-fielder Shane Peterson reached on a fielder’s choice.

After a wild pitch, Sattler gave up an RBI single to center to score Mitchell, then he walked third baseman Stephen Parker to load the bases.

After a soft liner to shortstop, Sattler walked right-fielder Matt Sulentic to force in a run and Midland catcher Petey Paramore followed with an infield single to short for an RBI.

Traveler reliever Chris Scholl pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out three.

In the first inning, the Rockhounds got a leadoff single from leadoff man Mitchell, only to be erased in a double play that began with a soft grounder to shortstop Darwin Perez.

After a walk to Peterson, first baseman Michael Spina flew out to center fielder Mike Trout in center to end the inning.

Trout is the Los Angeles Angels’ No. 1 prospect and led off with a walk and Perez sacrificed him to second. Trout stole third, but right-fielder Angel Castillo struck out swinging to strand Trout.

Reckling had an efficient second inning, retiring the side in order while throwing eight pitches.

He walked Paramore to start the third, but retired the next three batters on fly balls, with Castillo making an extended, running catch in right.

Reckling got the side in order in the fourth and gave up his second hit of the game to Jeremy Barfield to lead off the Midland fifth, but he retired the next three batters in order to end the inning and his night.

The Travelers also threatened in the second when left-fielder Clay Fuller reached on an infield single with one out.

He advanced to second when catcher Alberto Rosario grounded out to the shortstop. Fuller stole third, only to be stranded there when designated hitter Adam Younger lined out to short.

Arkansas didn’t get past first base the rest of the game which ended on a double play that began when second baseman Tyler Ladendorf made a diving stop of Perez’s grounder and while on the ground, flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop Grant Green.

Midland, which lost the Texas League Championship Series to Northwest Arkansas last year, has become Arkansas’ traditional, season opening opponent and thorn in the side.

The Rockhounds spoiled the Travelers’ home opener with a rout last year and also beat Arkansas when Dickey-Stephens Park opened in 2007.

Midland is affiliated with the Angels’ American League West rival Oakland Athletics.

Oakland, like Los Angeles, trains in Arizona, which means the Travelers and Rockhounds also hooked up several times during spring training.

The Travelers are in their first year under manager Bill Mosiello, who replaced four-year man Bobby Magallanes. Mosiello was at Class A Cedar Rapids, in the Midwest League, last year and knows many of the young prospects, including Trout, on this year’s Travelers roster.

The Travelers and Rockhounds resumed their three-game series Friday night and conclude tonight.

Arkansas welcomes the Frisco RoughRiders for a three-game set Sunday. The Travelers took their recent series at Frisco 2-1.