Aquino, Nippert strong in comebacks

How soon could Aquino return?

Billy Murphy struggles, but Greg Aquino and Carlos Quentin continue to impress; Dustin Nippert is back and showing why the Diamondbacks believe he could be the next big thing; Matt Chico has dropped to Hi-A, but without the results we were hoping for; Ross Ohlendorf graduates, returns, and then schools Quad Cities.

Tucson 1 @ Portland 6

Thursday, in his second appearance since coming off the DL Greg Aquino pitched one inning, gave up two hits, one run, and struck out two.  In his first appearance Sunday Aquino struck out one batter in a perfect inning.  The Sidewinders are going to give Aquino at least one day between appearances until he gets his arm strength back.

Bill Murphy notched a quality start, going six innings and giving up only three earned runs, but the bats couldn't get going.  Murphy allowed five hits and walked three, while striking out only one, but no one can say he didn't do everything to help his team.  Murphy was one of one two Sidewinders to get two hits on the day, and scored the Sidewinder's only run on a Conor Jackson sacrifice fly.

The only other Sidewinder to notch two hits was right fielder Carlos Quentin, who was 2-4 on the day with a double.  He's now hit in four straight.

Catcher Koyie Hill was 0-4 on the day, leaving three runners in scoring position.  It was the first time Hill had started a game for the Sidewinders without collecting at least one hit.

Tennessee 8 @ Montgomery 2

Since joining the Smokies Dustin Nippert has been electric and Thursday was his best yet.  Nippert went seven strong innings, giving up five hits, three walks, and two earned runs while striking out four.  In his third start Nippert had his longest outing of the year and his first without allowing a home run.

Casey Daigle pitched a scoreless ninth, it is his 15th straight scoreless appearance.  He's settled in the closers role nicely, finishing nine of the last 10 games he appeared in, and collecting two wins and two saves in the time.

Marland Williams was in left field, but also in the lead off spot, Thursday, and was 3-5 on the day.  It was only the fifth time this season that the (mostly) lead off hitter has reached base at least three times in the same day.  Williams also struck out twice on the day three straight games with two strikeouts.

Center fielder Jarred Ball had been having trouble getting at bats early in the year, but has been seeing much more playing time of late and has responded by crushing.  Ball is hitting .379 through eight games in June and has six RBI this month, already surpassing his totals from April and May.

Lancaster 0 @ Bakersfield 5

In his first start with Lancaster last Friday Matt Chico picked up his second win of the season after going 1-7 with the Smokies, but Thursday Chico allowed three walks and five hits, including a solo homer, and the bats never could get going.

It is hard to figure out how to keep the JetHawks off the board.  The power threesome of Chris Carter, Miguel Montero and Stephen Drew were a combined 0-12 with eight strikeouts.  The JetHawks struck out 15 times in the game, and third baseman Edgar Varela managed two of the JetHawks four hits on the day.  Varela has now hit in 12 straight games, and has multiple hits in eight of those, bringing his average from .259 at the start of the streak to .307 now, and hitting .382 in June.

South Bend 6 @ Quad Cities 3

Two weeks ago Ross Ohlendorf made his only appearance this season out of the bullpen, because he would miss his next start to head back to Princeton to walk in his graduation.  In his first start since getting his degree he went only five innings as the Silverhawks elected to protect his arm.  Thursday the Silverhawks had no such ideas, letting Ohlendorf pitch 8.1 innings of electric ball.  Ohlendorf scattered eight hits, walked none, and struck out five collecting his fourth win of the season. 

First baseman Cesar Nicolas extended his hitting streak with a 2-4 day that included two doubles and two RBI.  Since Nichols returned from a broken hand that had him sidelined for five weeks he has gone 5-14 with two runs scored, three doubles and three RBI.

Right fielder Carlos Gonzales has also been on a tear, hitting safely in his last eight games and 11 of his last 12.  Gonzales was 2-5 with a run scored Thursday.

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