Lopes, Lawrence take home weekly awards

Express IF ignites offense by totaling 26 bases; Rainiers RHP allows one run over 15.0 innings

Photo Credits: Andy Nietupski/Round Rock Express (left), Jeff Halstead/Tacoma Rainiers (right).

By Pacific Coast League | June 11, 2018 1:38 PM

ROUND ROCK, Texas - The Pacific Coast League announced Monday that Round Rock Express infielder Christian Lopes and Tacoma Rainiers right-hander Casey Lawrence have been selected as the Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of June 4-10, 2018.

Lopes was the key cog to a Round Rock offense that averaged 11.5 runs-per-game over their six contests last week. He played in five of them and amassed the most total bases (26) in Minor League Baseball; over half of his 12 hits went for extra-bases (7). The California native batted .600 (12-for-20), with on-base (.640), slugging (1.300) and OPS (1.940) marks that was each the highest among Triple-A players. Included in his offensive fireworks were a trio of home runs. Lopes also drove in nine runs, while scoring that many, too.

The Rangers farmhand had multiple hits in each of the five contests, all of which were Round Rock wins. Lopes twice collected three hits, June 6 at Salt Lake, when he also drove in three runs, and June 10 at Las Vegas. He registered his first career multi-homer game on June 8. Against the 51s, he hit a three-run shot in the eighth inning and added a solo one an inning later. He also drew two walks, reaching four times in the 12-5 decision. The following day, he chipped in with another home run, part of a two-hit, one-walk game in Round Rock's 18-run outburst.

Video: Express' Lopes rips second jack of game

The 25-year-old is in his first year in the Rangers organization after spending his first six professional campaigns with the Toronto Blue Jays. Lopes has played in 58 games for the Express, hitting .253 (50-for-198) with seven home runs and 32 RBI while drawing a team-high 27 walks. Lopes spent all last season with the International League's Buffalo Bisons, his first at the Triple-A level. He missed nearly a month with an injury and hit .261 (87-for-333) in 92 games. This is his first career Player of the Week award.

Lawrence made a pair of starts for the Rainiers, working a Minor League-high 15.0 innings and limiting the opposition to one run, with just one walk and 13 strikeouts. In his first outing, June 5 at Memphis, Lawrence tossed the PCL's second nine-inning complete game shutout of the season, doing so in just 97 pitches. He gave up only three hits in the 30 batters he faced and retired the first 11 hitters of the game. Lawrence then made a start on June 10 against Nashville. He went six innings and gave up only one run while striking out seven. He scattered five hits and a walk but didn't factor into the decision of the Rainiers' extra-inning win.

Video: Tacoma's Lawrence finishes off shutout

The 30-year-old, in his ninth professional season, has been in the Mariners organization since being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays in May 2017. Lawrence has appeared in nine games for Tacoma this season, seven of which have been starts. He is 4-2 with a 2.62 ERA (44.2 IP, 13 ER) with a 43:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lawrence has also twice been called up to Seattle, where he has thrown eight innings across four appearances. The Pennsylvania native spent parts of eight seasons in the Toronto organization after signing with them as an undrafted free agent in 2010. This is his third career Pitcher of the Week award, winning previously with the Double-A Eastern League's New Hampshire Fisher Cats in 2014 and the Single-A Florida State League's Dunedin Blue Jays in 2013.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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