D-backs Farm Rumblings: Visalia clinches; Jimmie Sherfy shines

Jun 10, 2019, 7:21 AM

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The Reno Aces are surging (although it might be too late to steal the first half title), reliever Jimmie Sherfy is gunning for a spot in the Arizona bullpen on more than a part time basis, Jackson’s Riley Smith is simply dealing and everything else going on in the D-backs’ minor league system.

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the week: 4-2
For the season: 27-36 (4th place in Pacific Northern Division; 5.0 games behind Sacramento

Things were looking bleak for the Aces Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series with Nashville. The Sounds led 11-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth, but Reno’s bats perked up to rally for a walk-off win. Abraham Almonte hit a solo home run with one out off of Nashville reliever Josh Fields. Domingo Leyba drew a walk and was followed by Yasmany Tomas, who belted his second homer of the game — this one to left field — to make it 11-10. Cody Decker struck out, but third baseman Wyatt Mathisen left the yard to tie the score at 11-11 with two outs. The next batter, Matt Szczur, homered to left on a 2-1 pitch to complete the comeback and give the Aces the win.

The complexion of Wednesday’s game was different, but the result was the same in Reno. Leyba’s three-run homer in the fourth inning was all the offense the Aces would need in a 3-2 decision over the Sounds. Lefty Alex Young allowed just one run and six hits in five innings to pick up his first win since April 30. Stefan Crichton, Ben Taylor and Sherfy pitched solidly in relief to secure the victory.

Juniel Querecuto singled to score Mathisen with two outs in the bottom of the ninth Thursday to give Reno another walk-off, this one by the score of 11-10. John Ryan Murphy and Decker each drove in three runs while Szczur and Querecuto had three hits apiece for the resurgent Aces.

Sherfy picked up another save Saturday night in a 5-3 win over Memphis. The 27-year-old right-hander who was a 10th-round pick of the D-backs in 2013 has been outstanding in the PCL this season. Sherfy is 9-for-9 (second-most in the league) in save opportunities and has limited opposing hitters to a .206 batting average while posting a 1.47 ERA.

D-backs infielder Jake Lamb made his rehab debut with Reno Saturday night. Lamb got the start at first base and went 0-for-3 at the plate with three strikeouts, but showed off a little bit defensively.

Lamb has been sidelined since early April with a Grade 2 left quadriceps strain he suffered while running the bases during a loss to the San Diego Padres.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the week: 2-4
For the season: 34-27 (Tied for 2nd place in North Division; 3.5 games behind Montgomery)

Jeffrey Baez and Jazz Chisholm each had two-run homers while Bryan Valdez and Matt Brill shut down Birmingham 5-2 in the first game of a seven-inning double-header Monday. Baez went deep in the first to help give the Generals a 3-0 lead. Chisholm added some cushion in the fourth with his 13th of the season. Valdez went six innings and allowed just six hits and two runs while striking out six. Brill came in and worked a clean seventh for his fourth save of the year. The second game of the twin bill didn’t go as well, as Birmingham bounced back for a 6-0 win.

Jackson exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning en route to an easy 9-1 win over Birmingham Tuesday. Baez’s three-run double scored Pavin Smith, Jamie Westbrook and Chisholm and highlighted the big frame. Starter Riley Smith didn’t need much help. The 24-year-old right-hander threw six innings of shutout ball while striking out five. The 24th-round draft pick out of LSU in 2016 has become one of the tougher starters in the Southern League. Over his last eight starts, Smith is 4-1 with a 0.53 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 11 walks.

Smith was named the Diamondbacks’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month Award.

Also in that win Tuesday, infielder Galli Cribbs got an inning of mop-up duty on the mound, and the 26-year-old made the most of it.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the week: 2-4
For the season: 39-19 (Clinched first half North Division title)

The Rawhide are headed to the California League playoffs once again. Visalia’s 4-2 win over the Stockton Ports Monday night clinched the first-half Northern Division title and made them the first team in all of Minor League Baseball to earn a postseason spot. Anfernee Grier opened the scoring with a two-run double in the top of the second inning and the Rawhide added a run each in the third and seventh innings. Matt Mercer started the game and went three innings before being bolstered by outstanding bullpen work from Luis Castillo, Mack Lemieux and Breckin Williams, who combined on six innings of scoreless duty.

Visalia lost Friday and Saturday night to Modesto, marking the first time all season long the ‘Hide have lost consecutive games at home. Jeff Bain, a 23-year-old right-hander, took a tough loss Saturday night. Bain went seven innings, allowed two runs and had a career-high 13 strikeouts but couldn’t get enough run support in a 4-1 loss.

The Rawhide have been one of the most dominant teams in all of Minor League Baseball this year, so it’s no surprise that they’re well represented on the California League All-Star roster.

Outfielder Jake McCarthy, the D-backs’ pick with the 39th selection in last year’s draft, came back from a month on the shelf and didn’t miss a beat this week. The 21-year-old hit .400 (8-for-20) with two doubles since returning Monday. In Sunday’s 10-2 win over Modesto, McCarthy paced Visalia with three hits and drove in two runs.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the week: 1-5
For the season: 31-30 (4th place in Western Division; 8.5 games behind Quad Cities)

Every hitter in the Cougars’ lineup had at least one hit; Geraldo Perdomo had a three-run triple in a five-run fourth inning in a 12-2 win over Wisconsin Tuesday. Zack Shannon added a solo shot in the fifth for Kane County.

That type of offense wasn’t the norm this week for the Cougars, however. Kane County was blanked twice; 6-0 against Wisconsin Wednesday and 2-0 on the road at Quad Cities on Friday night.

Outfielder Alek Thomas was named Arizona’s Minor League Player of the Month for May last week. Thomas, a second-round pick out of Mount Carmel High School in Illinois last summer, batted .337 (33-for-98) with seven doubles, three triples, four homers and 15 RBI in 24 games during the month.

Four members of the Cougars are Midwest League All-Stars: Thomas, Buddy Kennedy, Blaze Alexander and Blake Workman.

And finally, as the Hillsboro Hops, Missoula Osprey and Arizona League D-backs get ready to start their seasons, it’s fitting to note the praise the Arizona front office is getting from around baseball for their draft performance last week.

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