Slater's late two-run single pushes River Cats to victory

BOX SCORES: SAC / RIC / SJ / AUG

An entire nine-inning baseball game was played by the Giants' Triple-A affiliate on Saturday night after Thursday's season opener was rained out, followed by a subsequent mid-first inning rain postponing a night later. Clayton Blackburn had a rough season debut for the Sacramento River Cats, throwing 73 pitches in just three innings. But the bullpen combined for seven strikeouts over six shutout innings while Austin Slater's two-run single in the eighth inning tied the game at five apiece, with Slater eventually scoring on an Orlando Calixte single.

Notable bullpen performances include Kraig Sitton, who in two innings needed just 21 pitches to strike out three and allow one hit. Chase Johnson also ate up two innings, doing so perfectly with two punchouts and in 21 pitches, as well. Most noteworthy for fans of the major league Giants was lefty Josh Osich, who despite throwing more balls than strikes in his ninth inning appearance, struck out two and worked around a two-out walk to close out the victory.

Sam Coonrod was on the mound for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, and his performance is worth talking about for more than just his line score. Coonrod walked none while striking out six in six frames. But according to the Flying Squirrels' official twitter account, Coonrod sat between 95 and 97 mph most of the night with his heavy fastball. Trusting The Diamond's radar gun, that is a 3-4 mph increase from the past two years, where at most guns were reading Coonrod's fastball at 95, while sitting 91-93.

Out of the pen for the Flying Squirrels were two arms I see having huge impact on the organization over the next two to three years. Tall left-hander D.J. Snelten, an underrated former starter from the University of Minnesota, is capable of multiple innings and features two solid offerings — a 92-94 mph fastball with heaviness and a low-80s slider. His simplified, more repeatable delivery has been groomed over the past few years and his productiveness is really showing. Snelten, in 23 pitches in his Double-A debut, pitched two perfect innings on Saturday coaxing four ground balls and two strikeouts. 

Dating back to July 19 of last season, spread over 14 games and 17 innings, Snelten owns numbers like 0.5 RA/9, 4.2 H/9, 7.9 K/9, and an opposing slugging percentage below .200.

Reyes Moronta is the other, whose name you're likely to hear more often in 2017. He struck out the side in the his first Double-A appearance, making it five times he's accomplished the feat in the past 10 games dating back to August 15, 2016. Moronta has increased his fastball velocity to near 100 mph and features a devastating slider, which he showcased at major league camp last month.

OTHER NOTES

Slade Heathcott, a 26-year-old former first-rounder of the New York Yankees who the Giants signed to a minor-league deal this offseason, is rocking a .583 average through the first three games. He picked up three more hits on Saturday, including his second double of the season.

Jalen Miller has hits in each of his first three games, as does infield teammate Ryan Howard. The two have combined to go 11-for-33 at the top of the San Jose Giants lineup.

— The GreenJackets got two hits each from Jacob Heyward and Kelvin Beltre, including a home run from Heyward and a double from Beltre.

TOMORROW'S STARTERS

TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP

  1. Tyler Beede: DNP
  2. Christian Arroyo: 1-for-4, R, 2B, SO
  3. Bryan Reynolds: 0-for-4, BB, 3 SO
  4. Steven Duggar: DNP
  5. Chris Shaw: 0-for-2, 2 BB
  6. Sandro Fabian: 0-for-3, BB
  7. Heath Quinn: DNP
  8. Joan Gregorio: DNP
  9. Jordan Johnson: DNP
  10. Andrew Suarez: DNP
  11. Ty Blach: DNP
  12. Steven Okert: DNP
  13. Sam Coonrod: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K
  14. Matt Krook: DNP
  15. Aramis Garcia: 3-for-5, 3 RBI
  16. C.J. Hinojosa: DNP
  17. Reyes Moronta: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
  18. Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
  19. Austin Slater: 1-for-4, R, 2B, 3 RBI, SO
  20. Kelvin Beltre: 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, 2 SO
  21. Dan Slania: DNP
  22. Cory Taylor: DNP
  23. Chris Stratton: DNP
  24. Chase Johnson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
  25. Jalen Miller: 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 SO
  26. Melvin Adon: DNP
  27. Garrett Williams: DNP
  28. Dylan Davis: DNP
  29. Ryder Jones: DNP
  30. Hunter Cole: 0-for-3, RBI, SO

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