The first-place Salt Lake Bees head to Round Rock in search of their fourth straight inter-conference series victory.
After posting nine inter-conference victories in 2016, the Bees have won nine of their first 12 inter-conference games in 2017, including winning three of four in New Orleans to open this eight-game road trip.
Last year, the Express got the better of the Bees at Smith's Ballpark, sweeping a mid-August four game series. Salt Lake slugged seven homers last year against Round Rock pitching, and current Bees Kaleb Cowart and Sherman Johnson led the way with two homers each. Cowart and Johnson are two of four Bees that have drawn at least 20 walks already this season. Cowart leads the Bees and ranks second in the Pacific Coast league with 25 walks, while Johnson (24 walks, 4th in the PCL), Nolan Fontana (22 walks, 5th in the PCL) and Ramon Flores (21 walks, 6th in the PCL) all rank in the top six in the PCL in walks drawn as well. Flores has reached base in 28 of his 29 games this season, including the last 11 in a row, and leads the PCL with a .460 on-base percentage. Eric Young, Jr. is also swinging a hot bat for the Bees. The speedy outfielder begins the Round Rock series on an eight-game hitting streak and leads the PCL with 12 stolen bases.
Round Rock features three of the top 30 prospects in the Texas Rangers' farm system, according to mlb.com. First baseman Ronald Guzman is the Rangers' fourth-ranked prospect and leads the Express in runs scored (27) and hits (49). Infielder Drew Robinson (number 22) and catcher Brett Nicholas (number 25) also rank among the Rangers' top 30 prospects, with Robinson leading Round Rock in doubles (9), walks (20), and stolen bases (5). Salt Lake baseball fans will recognize a couple members of the Express pitching staff, as reliever Wesley Wright appeared in 12 games for the Bees in 2015 and starter Tyler Wagner is the University of Utah's all-time leader with 17 career saves.
Following the four game set in Round Rock, the Bees return home for eight games against the El Paso Chihuahuas and Tacoma Rainiers. For tickets and additional information, visit slbees.com.
At a glance:
Salt Lake Bees (24-17) at Round Rock Express (16-25), May 19-22 at Dell Diamond in Round Rock
Game Times/Probable Pitchers:
Friday, May 19: Salt Lake's Luis Diaz (1-2, 7.65 ERA) vs. Round Rock's Dillon Gee (1-4, 5.30 ERA) at 6:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 20: Salt Lake's Troy Scribner (5-0, 3.34 ERA) vs. Round Rock's Anthony Bass (0-0, 2.95 ERA) at 6:05 p.m.
Sunday, May 21: Salt Lake's Parker Bridwell (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Round Rock's Allen Webster (2-3, 9.00 ERA) at 12:05 p.m.
Monday, May 22: Salt Lake's Daniel Wright (2-1, 9.35 ERA) vs. Round Rock's Eddie Gamboa (2-4, 7.56 ERA) at 6:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.