Emerson Hancock (pictured last month) was part of an AquaSox starting rotation that shut down Tri-City in last week’s series. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Emerson Hancock (pictured last month) was part of an AquaSox starting rotation that shut down Tri-City in last week’s series. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

AquaSox weekly update: Pitchers shine as Sox dominate Tri-City

The AquaSox’s talented rotation had a strong week, helping Everett win 5 of 6 over the Dust Devils.

The Everett AquaSox have sure had their way with Tri-City this season.

The AquaSox continued their dominance of the last-place Dust Devils this past week, winning five of six games in their series at Gesa Stadium in Pasco. Everett outscored Tri-City by a combined 45-17 margin in the series.

In doing so, the AquaSox (29-17) improved to 11-1 against Tri-City this season and have outscored the Dust Devils 110-33 in their 12 games. Everett’s only loss to Tri-City (15-32) this year came in an extra-inning defeat on Wednesday after two blown saves.

Here’s a closer look at Everett’s dominant series in The Herald’s weekly AquaSox update:

PITCHERS SHUT DOWN TRI-CITY

It was a big week for Everett’s pitching staff.

AquaSox pitchers combined for a pair of shutouts and a mere 1.63 earned-run average in the series, allowing just 10 earned runs in 55 1/3 innings. Everett hurlers struck out 34.2% of the batters they faced, while totaling 76 strikeouts and just 13 walks over the six games.

Here’s a breakdown of how each of the AquaSox’s six starting pitchers fared in the series:

Taylor Dollard: The newest member of Everett’s rotation had a strong High-A West debut Sunday. In his first outing with the AquaSox since being promoted from Low-A Modesto, Dollard allowed just two earned runs, one unearned run and four hits in seven innings, while striking out nine batters and walking none. The Seattle Mariners’ 2020 fifth-round draft pick posted a 3.35 ERA in seven starts and 37 2/3 innings with Modesto this season. The right-hander from Cal Poly totaled 59 strikeouts and just 10 walks during his time with the Nuts, recording 1.57 punchouts per inning and a 36.4% strikeout rate. Dollard is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 30 overall prospect in the Mariners’ organization.

Emerson Hancock: The Mariners’ 2020 first-round draft pick allowed two runs and four hits in five innings on Friday, while striking out five batters and walking one. Hancock, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 23 overall prospect in baseball, has a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings this season, with 25 strikeouts and 11 walks.

George Kirby: After a rough start the previous week, the Mariners’ 2019 first-round draft pick bounced back with a quality performance on Saturday. Kirby allowed two earned runs, two unearned runs and six hits in six innings, while totaling nine strikeouts and one walk. Kirby, MLB.com’s No. 72 overall prospect, has a 3.38 ERA in 26 2/3 innings this season, with 31 strikeouts and just five walks.

Juan Then: The 21-year-old Dominican Republic native allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings last Tuesday, while striking out six batters and walking two. Then, ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 7 prospect, has a 3.90 ERA in 30 innings this season, with 26 strikeouts and 12 walks.

Levi Stoudt: The 2019 third-round draft pick had another strong start last Thursday, when he struck out seven batters in 5 2/3 scoreless innings, while allowing three hits and two walks. Over his last two starts, Stoudt has surrendered just one run and five hits in 11 2/3 innings. Stoudt, the Mariners’ No. 12-ranked prospect, has a 2.90 ERA in 40 1/3 innings this season, with 45 strikeouts and 26 walks.

Matt Brash: After failing to make it out of the first inning in his last start, Brash rebounded by tossing four scoreless innings of one-hit ball last Wednesday. He struck out seven of the 13 batters he faced and yielded only one walk. Brash, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick by the San Diego Padres, has a 2.93 ERA in 30 2/3 innings this season. The Mariners’ No. 26-ranked prospect has totaled 48 strikeouts and 20 walks for an average of 1.57 punchouts per inning and a 35.6% strikeout rate.

OTHER STANDOUTS

Here are some other players who had a strong series for the AquaSox:

Tyler Keenan: The 2020 fourth-round draft pick went 4-for-10 with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs in the series. Keenan missed several weeks earlier this season with an injury. But since returning in mid-June, the Mariners’ No. 25-ranked prospect is 8-for-25 with three homers and three doubles.

Patrick Frick: The 2019 14th-round draft pick went 6-for-20 with a home run in the series. Frick leads the High-A West in on-base percentage (.444) and ranks third in batting average (.314). He has four home runs and 11 doubles.

Austin Shenton: The Bellingham High School alum and 2019 fifth-round draft pick went 6-for-20 with two doubles in the series. Shenton leads the High-A West in extra-base hits (25) and ranks fourth in both on-base percentage (.409) and slugging percentage (.506). The Mariners’ No. 17-ranked prospect has five home runs, two triples and a league-leading 18 doubles.

Cade Marlowe: The 2019 20th-round draft pick went 6-for-24 in the series with one home run, two doubles and nine RBIs. Marlowe, the Mariners’ No. 29-ranked prospect, has five extra-base hits in eight games since being promoted from Low-A Modesto.

LATE-GAME DRAMA

Despite the AquaSox’s plus-28 run differential in the series, two of the games featured some late drama.

Last Wednesday, Everett blew two saves in a 5-4 extra-inning loss. After the AquaSox rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to take a 3-1 lead, Tri-City tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a pair of two-out RBI singles off Everett pitcher Tim Elliott to force extra innings.

The AquaSox regained the lead with a run in the top of the 11th. But once again, the Dust Devils responded. In the bottom of the frame, Tri-City scored the tying and game-winning runs on a pair of RBI singles off Fred Villarreal to earn a walkoff victory.

On Saturday, Everett returned the favor with a ninth-inning rally of its own.

With the AquaSox trailing 6-5 in the ninth, Jack Larsen reached base on a leadoff single and came around to score on a game-tying double by Joseph Rosa. Later in the inning, Zach DeLoach lined a go-ahead two-run single with two outs that proved to be the difference in the game.

STANDINGS UPDATE

Everett remains second in the six-team High-A West, trailing first-place Eugene (30-17) by one-half game. Vancouver (26-22) is in third place, sitting 4.5 games behind Eugene.

UP NEXT

The AquaSox return home to Funko Field to face Vancouver in a six-game series that’s slated to run Tuesday through Sunday. After that, Everett hits the road again for a six-game series at first-place Eugene.

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