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Tigers prospects Kyle Funkhouser, Zac Shepherd draw praise for strong starts

Scores, news, and notes from around the Detroit Tigers farm system for Monday May 1, and Tuesday May 2, 2017.

Indianapolis Indians 9, Toledo Mud Hens 2 (box)

A.J. Ladwig drew a really tough assignment Tuesday night. Called up from Advanced-A Lakeland for a spot start, Ladwig was greeted rudely, surrendering six runs over five innings pitched. Reliever Mike Zagurski then proceeded to get clobbered for three runs in an inning of work, and that was all she wrote for this one. Left fielder Alex Presley was the lone bright spot for the offense, driving in a pair of runs.

Presley: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB, SO
Jones: 0-4, 2 SO
Ladwig (L, 0-1): 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 12 H, 2 SO

Coming Up Next: Drew VerHagen (2-0, 2.25 ERA) looks to continue his fine start to the season against Tyler Eppler (2-1, 2.45 ERA) and the Indians as the Mud Hens’ three-game road series continues.

Bowie Baysox 6, Erie SeaWolves 5 (box)

Artie Lewicki struggled through 5 13 innings in this one, giving up four runs on nine hits and a pair of walks. The SeaWolves drew eight walks on the night, staging a late rally with two runs in both the eighth and ninth inning to send this one to extras. Unfortunately, they fell short in the top of the 10th, and Kurt Spomer took the loss as the Baysox walked this one off.

Ficociello: 2-5, 2 RBI
Quintana: 1-5, R, RBI, HR, SO
Stewart: 0-3, 2 BB, SO

Coming Up Next: Matt Crouse (3-0, 4.05 ERA) will look to play stopper Wednesday morning, as the SeaWolves look to avoid the sweep.

Charlotte Stone Crabs 2, Lakeland Flying Tigers 0 (box)

The pitchers starred in this one. Beau Burrows took his first loss of the season, but only allowed a solo shot over four innings. He punched out six along the way without allowing a walk for another promising outing. Zac Reininger and Mark Ecker combined for five quality innings of relief work, with Ecker surrendered the Stone Crabs second run. The offense was held almost totally in check, with just three hits and two walks for the day.

Burrows (L, 3-1): 4.0 IP, ER, 4 H, HR, 6 SO
Reininger: 3.0 IP, 2 BB, SO
Ecker: 2.0 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 SO

Coming Up Next: Spenser Watkins (0-0, 2.45 ERA) will look to turn the tide as the Flying Tigers are down two games in their four game set with the Stone Crabs.

Clinton LumberKings 5, West Michigan Whitecaps 4 (box)

Kyle Funkhouser had a short outing on Tuesday, needed 68 pitches to get just eight outs before being lifted during a long third inning. He surrendered three runs, two earned, while issuing three free passes and giving up six hits. He did strike out five for the day. Zac Houston gave up the final two runs in 1 13 innings. Outfielder Jacob Robson and designated hitter Cole Bauml collected a pair of hits apiece in the losing effort.

Pereira: 1-4, RBI, 2B
Pinero: 1-4, R, 3B
Robson: 2-4, R, BB, SO
Funkhouser (L, 2-1): 2.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 5 SO

Coming Up Next: Lefthander Eudis Idrogo (1-1, 2.42 ERA) will look to keep his roll going Wednesday night for the Whitecaps at home.

From Monday:

Bowie Baysox 5, Erie SeaWolves 2 (box)

Tyler Alexander went seven innings in this one, but a pair of solo shots undercut an otherwise solid outing. Dominic Ficociello went 4-for-4, and Kody Eaves added three hits of his own in the losing effort.

Ficociello: 4-4, RBI
Gerber: 1-4, SO
Stewart: 0-4, 2 SO
Alexander (L, 1-3): 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 R, 7 H, 2 HR, 2 SO

Charlotte Stone Crabs 7, Lakeland Flying Tigers 5 (box)

The Flying Tigers rallied for four runs in the late innings, but couldn’t pull this one out after reliever Jeff Thompson gave up a two-run shot in the top of the ninth. Matt Hall started the game and was knocked around for five runs on nine hits over four innings. He did strikeout eight Stone Crabs along the way. Left fielder Ross Kivett and center fielder Jose Azocar paced the offense with three hits apiece, including Azocar’s third triple of the season.

Kivett: 3-4, RBI, SO
Azocar: 3-4, 3B, R, 3 RBI
Verlander: 2-4, 2B, 2 R
Hall (L): 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, BB, 8 SO

Several Detroit Tigers prospects drew plaudits for their work in April. Third baseman Zac Shepherd, the Tigers’ 22nd ranked prospect according to, was named to MLB Pipeline’s prospect team of the week for the final week of April. Playing for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Shepherd launched five home runs in six games last week and was named the Florida State League Player of the Week as well. The 21-year-old native Australian is currently boasting a .924 OPS with six home runs despite ongoing strikeout issues.

Meanwhile, RHP Kyle Funkhouser, despite a tough outing on Monday, was named to Baseball America’s Hot Sheet for the last week of April. Rotographs also had a write-up on Funkhouser in their Prospect Stock Watch series. Funkhouser has touched 97 miles per hour already this spring. In 20 13 innings of work, he has 34 strikeouts to nine walks. As an advanced college player, it will be interesting to see how long the Tigers keep him in Single-A ball before moving him up to the next level.