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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Liberatore continues dominant June

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Matthew Liberatore has been one of the top pitchers in minor league baseball since joining Bowling Green.

Colorado Rockies v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Through 5 23 innings Friday, Matthew Liberatore had a no-hitter. Back-to-back hits ended that and also his shutout bid, but it was still a great start. In four June starts, he’s pitched to a 0.69 ERA with 23 strikeouts and seven walks in 26 innings.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (46-27)

Home runs from Nick Solak and Jason Coats helped Durham to a 6-2 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Nick Solak’s 14th of the season gave the Bulls a 1-0 lead in the second, and two batters after Jake Smolinski’s RBI double made it a 2-0 game in the fourth, Coats hit his 10th homer to extend the lead to four. Jake Faria opened with two scoreless innings, and Ricardo Pinto allowed a run in five innings with five strikeouts.

DH Nate Lowe: 1-for-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K (.898)
2B Nick Solak: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB (.896)
CF Jake Smolinski: 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K (.813)
RF Jason Coats: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI (.840)

RHP Ricardo Pinto: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (2.72)

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (1-1)

Riley O’Brien pitched a shutout in Montgomery’s Game 1, 7-0 win over Tennessee. He only struck out one, but he didn’t issue any walks, and all six Smokies hits were singles. The Biscuits’ first run scored on a wild pitch in the first, and they scored four in the fourth to open up their lead.

The Biscuits fell in Game 2, 3-2. They led 1-0 on a passed ball in the first, but the Smokies scored the next three runs. Jermaine Palacios homered in the fifth. Ryan Thompson opened and was charged with a run in 1 13 innings, and Brian Shaffer allowed the other two in 3 23 frames.

CF Josh Lowe (1): 1-for-3, 1 BB
CF Josh Lowe (2): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 3B (.733)
RF Jesus Sanchez (1): 1-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS
DH Jesus Sanchez (2): 0-for-3, 1 K (.800)
SS Lucius Fox (1): 1-for-4, 1 2B, 2 K
SS Lucius Fox (2): 0-for-3 (.710)
2B Jermaine Palacios (2): 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB (.497)

RHP Riley O’Brien (1): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (3.42)
RHP Brian Shaffer (2): 3 23 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (2.76)

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (3-2)

Charlotte fell in an early hole in a 10-3 loss to Lakeland. The Flying Tigers piled up seven runs in the first three innings, and the Stone Crabs were unable to get any closer than four runs. Justin Marsden opened and was charged with five runs — four earned — in 1 13 innings, and Stephen Woods was charged with three runs — two earned — in five innings.

2B Taylor Walls: 1-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 K (.767)
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 2 K (.729)
LF Moises Gomez: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K (.672)
RF Garrett Whitley: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 2 K (.717)

RHP Stephen Woods Jr.: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K (2.70)

Charlotte’s site offers this recap.

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (1-1)

Matthew Liberatore was sharp again, but he didn’t get any support in Bowling Green’s 1-0 loss to South Bend. For the second straight outing, he pitched a career-high seven innings, but he gave up a run for the first time since June 2. He has 16 strikeouts in 14 innings over his last two starts.

SS Wander Franco: 1-for-4, 1 K, 1 CS (.888)

LHP Matthew Liberatore: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (1.76)

Short-Season Hudson Valley Renegades (4-4)

Hudson Valley rallied for a 5-4 win over Aberdeen. The IronBirds scored three in the first two innings to put the Renegades in an early hole, but they scored the next five runs to take control of the game. Hill Alexander’s RBI double in the sixth gave them their first lead, and an eighth-inning wild pitch provided a valuable insurance run. Rodolfo Sanchez allowed three runs in 4 23 innings, but Steffon Moore was a star in relief, recording all seven of his outs via strikeout.

DH Greg Jones: 0-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K (.872)
CF K.V. Edwards: 0-for-1, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 SB (.716)

RHP Rodolfo Sanchez: 4 23 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (2.89)
LHP Steffon Moore: 2 13 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K (6.00)

Rookie Princeton Rays (2-2)

Princeton ended Burlington’s dream of an undefeated season with an 8-3 win over the Royals. The Rays scored once in each of the first two innings and led by as many as six before Burlington finally scored in the eighth. A half inning later, Yunior Martinez’s two-run homer extended the lead back to five. Jose Lopez was sharp in five scoreless innings, striking out five and yielding just a single and a walk.

SS Jelfry Marte: 0-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K (.607)
3B Angelo Armenta: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 CS (.889)
RF Diego Infante: 1-for-1, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 HBP (1.045)
RF Yunior Martinez: 1-for-1, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI (2.142)
DH Kevin Melendez: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB (1.857)

LHP Jose Lopez: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (0.00)

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Saturday’s games (probables courtesy of milb.com)

Durham @ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6:35 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Chance Adams (4-1, 3.40)

Montgomery @ Tennessee 7 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Paul Campbell (1-0, 4.15) vs. Thomas Hatch (4-6, 4.65)

Charlotte vs. Lakeland 6 p.m. ET (radio stream)
TBA vs. Elvin Rodriguez (5-3, 3.48)

Bowling Green @ South Bend 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Faustino Carrera (4-2, 2.78)

Hudson Valley vs. Aberdeen 6:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. TBA

Princeton vs. Burlington 6:30 p.m. ET (radio stream)
Christian Fernandez (0-0, -.--) vs. TBA

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees)
42-29 (1st in IL North)
Offense: 392 R (4th) .841 OPS (1st)
Pitching: 4.47 ERA (3rd) 1.33 WHIP (2nd)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Michael King (5), RHP Chance Adams (15), SS Thairo Estrada (27), C Erik Kratz, 1B Logan Morrison

Tennessee Smokies (Cubs)
1-1 (T-3rd in SL North)
Offense: 283 R (6th) .669 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 4.03 ERA (9th) 1.30 WHIP (6th)
Top-30 prospects: SS Nico Hoerner (1), RHP Cory Abbott (8), LHP Justin Steele (9), RHP Oscar De La Cruz (21), RHP Thomas Hatch (22), 1B Jared Young (24), C Jhonny Pereda (26), RHP Keegan Thompson (29)

Lakeland Flying Tigers
1-4 (6th in FSL South)
Offense: 241 R (11th) .656 OPS (9th)
Pitching: 3.81 ERA (10th) 1.24 WHIP (6th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Franklin Perez (4), 2B Kody Clemens (12), LHP Austin Sodders (20), OF Brock Deatherage (28), RHP Jason Foley (29)

South Bend Cubs
1-1 (T-2nd in MWL East)
Offense: 268 R (15th) .679 OPS (8th)
Pitching: 3.87 ERA (8th) 1.32 WHIP (10th)
Top-30 prospects: LHP Brailyn Marquez (3), OF Cole Roederer (4), OF Brennen Davis (5), OF Nelson Velazquez (13), RHP Jose Albertos (15), OF Edmond Americaan (16), RHP Riley Thompson (20)

Aberdeen IronBirds (Baltimore)
4-4 (T-2nd in NYPL McNamara)
Offense: 24 R (6th) .644 OPS (6th)
Pitching: 2.55 ERA (5th) 1.26 WHIP (6th)
Top-30 prospects: SS Jean Carmona (26)

Burlington Royals
3-1 (T-1st in AL East)
Offense: Will update next series
Pitching: Will update next series
Top-30 prospects: LHP Rylan Kaufman (25)

Daily news and links

Baseball America previewed the top prospects in the Appalachian League.