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Tigers pitching prospects on display Friday night

Luis Cessa, Tyler Alexander, and Paul Voelker were all in action in the Tigers' minors on Friday evening.

Several of the Detroit Tigers' more interesting young pitching prospects were on display Friday night throughout the farm system. Luis Cessa, acquired in the Yoenis Cespedes trade, started for the Toledo Mud Hens, but took a no-decision after surrending five earned runs over five innings. Cessa was outstanding in Double-A ball this season, compiling a 2.56 ERA across 77 1/3 innings, but has struggled to adjust at the next level in both of his stints in Triple-A thus far. The 23-year-old righthander has a 7.17 ERA in four starts with the Mud Hens.

The Tigers' second round pick in the 2015 draft, Tyler Alexander, tossed three scoreless innings in his start for the Connecticut Tigers. The lanky Texan out of Texas Christian University is off to a roaring start, posting a 0.87 ERA over 31 innings in his young professional career.

Meanwhile, closer Paul Voelker picked up his 17th save in 19 tries across three levels of minor league ball this season. The 10th round pick by the Tigers in the 2014 draft out of Dallas Baptist, Voelker was promoted to Double-A Erie at the beginning of July. The hard-throwing right-hander has a 2.26 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings of work and has gone five outings without allowing a run.

In Double-A action, left-hander Josh Turley, who sits in the low-90s with his fastball and features a knuckleball as one of his secondary pitches, collected his 11th win on the season for the Erie SeaWolves and joined some rare company in SeaWolves' history in the process.

Durham Bulls 7, Toledo Mud Hens 6 (box)

Toledo starter Luis Cessa (8-8, 4.54 ERA) and his opposition, the Bulls' Scott Diamond, leaked runs early, with each surrendering five earned runs. Neither made it through the sixth inning in what evolved into a 14-inning marathon. Jefry Marte drove in a pair of runs, while catcher Manny Pina was a force at the plate again, knocking in three runs on four singles to drive the Mud Hens (51-75) offense. The two bullpens dueled through five scoreless innings into the 14th. In the bottom half of the frame, Jeff Ferrell surrendered a two-out RBI double to Nick Franklin as the Bulls walked off with the victory.

Erie SeaWolves 3, Akron RubberDucks 2 (box)

After a rough patch in late July, SeaWolves' (52-71) left-hander Josh Turley has turned things around over his last few starts. He turned in a solid six-inning performance with two earned runs on Friday night to earn the victory. Turley (11-7, 3.48 ERA) allowed five hits, walked a pair, and struck out three RubberDucks. Shortstop JaCoby Jones, recently acquired in the Joakim Soria trade, drove in a run, while second baseman Harold Castro drove in a pair out of the nine spot in the order. Paul Voelker (5-1, S 17, 2.26 ERA) struck out two hitters to collect his 17th save of the season.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 4, Dunedin Blue Jays 0 (box)

Brennan Smith (5-5, 3.88 ERA) cruised through seven shutout innings on Friday to lead the Flying Tigers to victory. Smith allowed just two hits and a walk, striking out two batters. Jiwan James, Francisco Martinez and Tyler Hanover each had multi-hit games as the Flying Tigers (47-73) pounded out 10 hits on the night. Venezuelan born Adenson Verastegui (0-1, 2.61 ERA) threw a pair of scoreless innings to finish off the Blue Jays, striking out a pair in the process.

Lake Country Captains 4, West Michigan Whitecaps 3 (box)

The Captains jumped on Whitecaps' starter A.J. Ladwig (10-9 3.90 ERA) in this one, tagging him for four runs in the first two innings. To his credit, Ladwig gathered himself to shut down the Captains offense for five more innings, giving his team a chance to overcome the early deficit. Francisco Contreras drove in Ross Kivett for single runs in the second and fourth inning to power the Whitecaps back into striking distance. After Kivett tripled in the sixth, Will Kengor brought him home with a sacrifice fly to pull the Whitecaps within one run. Unfortunately the rally sputtered from that point as the Whitecaps (64-57) went down to defeat.

Connecticut Tigers 11, Vermont Lake Monsters 1 (box)

The Tigers' (28-28) offense came out on fire in this one, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings and rolling to victory. After posting one run in the first inning, Shane Zeile led off the second with a solo shot. Steven Fuentes followed with a triple, and the rout was on as the Tigers scored five runs in the second inning to blow the game open. Corey Baptist and Tanner Donnels each drove in three runs in the game. On the mound, Detroit Tigers' 2015 second-round draft pick Tyler Alexander (0-2, 0.87 ERA) threw a dominant three innings, striking out four.

★★★

Upcoming Action

Mud Hens: The Mud Hens will have a baseball intensive weekend, playing an evening double-header against Norfolk, before concluding the the road series Sunday evening.

SeaWolves: The SeaWolves will conclude a three game road series against Akron, with a night game on Saturday and an afternoon contest on Sunday.

Flying Tigers: The Flying Tigers return home for a night game Saturday to conclude a split series against the Dunedin Blue Jays, before starting a three game set against Brevard County on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET from Joker Marchant Stadium.

Whitecaps: The Whitecaps will wrap up their road trip with three games against the Lake Country Captains. Saturday evening will feature a double-header as they make-up a rain cancelled game from earlier in the year. The series concludes with an afternoon game on Sunday, before the Whitecaps return home to start a homestand on Monday.

Tigers: The Tigers continue their home series against the Vermont Lake Monsters with an afternoon game on Saturday, followed by a night game on Saturday.