Minor-league notes: Riddle with 2 hits, 2 runs vs. Legends; 1st win for Shepherd

dvarney@herald-leader.comJuly 1, 2014 

Greensboro third baseman J.T. Riddle, a former Western Hills and UK standout, came home to face the Lexington Legends at Whitaker Bank Ball Park in Lexington on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Photo by Matt Goins

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There were plenty of hits and runs to go around Tuesday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, and former Western Hills and University of Kentucky standout J.T. Riddle helped generate two of each in the Greensboro Grasshoppers' 16-12 victory against the Lexington Legends.

Riddle, a Miami Marlins prospect and Kentucky's Mr. Baseball in 2010, went 2-for-4 with a single, a triple, two walks, two RBI and two runs scored in his first game back in Lexington as a minor-leaguer.

"Pretty awesome feeling tonight playing in front of some of the best fans a player could ask for!," Riddle tweeted after the game. "Thank you to everyone who came tonight!"

Riddle, who was 5-for-7 against Asheville on Monday night, has been on a roll for the past 10 games. He's batting .418 (18-for-43) during that span, which also includes 11 of his 31 RBI this season. Overall, he's batting .267 for the Class A squad.

The teams combined for 37 hits with seven doubles, two triples and four home runs. And the Grasshoppers drew seven walks.

Austin Dean added four hits, including a grand slam, for Greensboro. Chad Wallach and Avery Romero had three apiece. Legends leadoff hitter Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado hit a pair of home runs and Dexter Kjerstad had a grand slam.

Chandler Shepherd (Lawrence County, UK) pitched two innings of relief and gave up one unearned run to earn his first minor-league victory as short-season Class A Lowell defeated Connecticut 11-5. Shepherd, a Boston Red Sox prospect, had five strikeouts to give him eight in five innings this season.

Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro Catholic, U of L) helped Shepherd's cause with two hits and two RBI for the Spinners. Sturgeon has batted .294 in four games since joining the team after the Cardinals' season ended.

Micheal Thomas, who had been promoted from the Detroit Tigers' rookie-level team, debuted for Connecticut and was 1-for-4. Thomas (Elizabethtown, UK) was 3-for-9 with three runs scored for the Gulf Coast League Tigers.

Lance Ray (UK) was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs in Class A Advanced Fort Myers' 5-4 loss to Bradenton. Ray, an outfielder in the Minnesota Twins' organization, is batting .327 with seven RBI in 15 games.

Andy Burns (UK) hit his eighth home run of the season in Double-A New Hampshire's 6-2 win at Reading. Burns, a Toronto Blue Jays prospect, was 2-for-5 with two RBI.

Wade Gaynor (WKU) was 2-for-3 with a double and a solo home run in Triple-A Toledo's 5-3 win at Indianapolis.

A first baseman in the Detroit Tigers' organization, Gaynor is batting .225 with four home runs and 16 RBI for the Mud Hens. He hit .293 with six homers and 16 RBI for Double-A Erie earlier this season.

Jonathan Roof (St. Mary) was 2-for-4 with a double and a two-run single in Double-A Portland's 5-4 win at Trenton. Roof is batting .280 with 12 RBI in 23 games for the Boston Red Sox affiliate.

Dennis Varney: (859) 231-3514.Twitter: @ExCats.

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