Raleigh, bullpen pace Arkansas in semis

No. 7 Mariners prospect draws key walk, hurlers spin late zeros

Cal Raleigh blasted 29 home runs between Class A Advanced Modesto and Double-A Arkansas this year. (Joshua Tjiong/MiLB.com)

By Andrew Battifarano / MiLB.com | September 5, 2019 12:16 AM

Cal Raleigh didn't record a hit in the Texas League semifinals opener, but he helped Double-A Arkansas take the edge in the series. 

The seventh-ranked Mariners prospect walked and scored the winning run in the eighth inning and the Travelers bullpen posted four hitless innings in Arkansas' 2-1 victory over Tulsa in Game 1 of the best-of-5 set at Dickey-Stephens Park on Wednesday.

Video: Travelers' Raleigh scores winning run

With the score tied in the eighth, 1-1, Raleigh led off the frame with a six-pitch walk against righty Nolan Long (0-1). No. 10 Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis advanced the 2018 third-rounder to second with a groundout. In scoring position with two down, Raleigh crossed the plate when second baseman Omar Estevez made a throwing error during an off-balance play on No. 25 Seattle prospect Dom Thompson-Williams' slow bouncer. 

"That was a great at-bat. It was very impressive for a young player that's only been here for maybe less than two months," Travelers manager Cesar Nicolas said of Raleigh. "He's mature and capable and he's done so much this year, so it was great to see him come up with a professional at-bat and get a leadoff walk."

Gameday box score

The one-run lead was all Sam Delaplane needed in the ninth as he pitched a perfect frame with a strikeout to lock up the save. That capped a stellar night for the Arkansas relief corps, which combined for four scoreless innings with one walk and three strikeouts. 

"We have all the confidence in the world in those guys," Nicolas said of his relievers. "They have done it all year, they keep us in striking distance and that's what they did again tonight. ... Luckily for us, we also got some good bounces at the end."

Jack Anderson got the ball rolling with 1 1/3 innings, yielding a hit with two strikeouts.

No. 27 Mariners prospect Aaron Fletcher -- acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Nationals -- allowed just one walk over 1 2/3 frames. Since coming over to the Travelers, he's allowed five earned runs over 14 2/3 innings, including Wednesday's performance. 

Complete playoff coverage

"He's been great, he's been fantastic for us and he's only had a handful of earned runs with us," Nicolas said. "He's controlling the zone, working ahead, attacking hitters and he has ton of confidence. We were talking about it on the last day of the season, and he's come in with us and fit in seamlessly."

On the other side, fourth-ranked Dodgers prospect Josiah Gray pitched five scoreless innings, giving up four hits and a walk with six strikeouts. No. 28 prospect Connor Wong blasted a solo homer in the fifth. 

Game 2 of the series is slated for Thursday in Arkansas. 

In other Texas League playoff action: 

RockHounds 8, Sod Poodles 3

Nate Mondou and Taylor Motter blasted homers to power Midland past Amarillo in the semifinals opener. With a 2-0 lead in the third, Motter belted a two-run shot to left. Mondou followed with a two-run dinger to right in the next inning. Motter also helped bring in the game's final run in the eighth by drawing a bases-loaded walk. For Amarillo, second-ranked Padres prospect Taylor Trammell and No. 11 Hudson Potts both collected solo homers. Gameday box score

Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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