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5 players to watch in the 51s’ series at Sacramento

The 51s will start the second half of their eight-game road trip on Tuesday in Sacramento. The River Cats are 2-10 this season with their only two victories of the season coming against the 51s. Here are five players to watch in the series:

Ryan Lollis

The River Cats first baseman has become a 51s-killer the past two seasons.

When the River Cats came Las Vegas a week ago, Lollis went .438/.471/.625 (7-for-16) in a four-game series. He recorded a hit in every game and two hits in three of the four games. He also drove in two and scored three in the series.

Last season, Lollis had a four-hit game against the 51s and had two or more hits in four of the six games he played in against Las Vegas.

Conor Gillaspie

Like Lollis, Gillaspie had a hit in every game against the 51s in the past series. Gillaspie helped lead the River Cats to a 6-1 lead with a 5-for-5 day on April 13 and for the series, he hit .471/.471/.588 (8-for-17). The third baseman currently leads the River Cats with a .304 batting average and has hit safely in eight of 11 games this season.

Duane Below

Below is expected to join the 51s and make his first start of the season against Sacramento. The 30-year-old, who pitched for parts of three seasons in the majors, will start in Rafael Montero’s spot in the rotation. Montero was recalled by the Mets on April 13.

Below was 4-3 with a 2.19 ERA last season at Las Vegas in his first year in the Mets’ organization. He threw started five games and threw 49 1/3 innings while with the 51s.

Clayton Blackburn

The 51s missed seeing Clayton Blackburn the last time the two teams played, as he was a late scratch with an illness. But Blackburn, the team’s eighth-ranked prospect per Baseball America, is slated to pitch in the series finale on Friday. Blackburn, who is 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA this year, was 10-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 20 starts a season ago at Triple-A. He walked 32 while striking out 99 in 123 innings pitched.

Roger Bernadina

Though often glossed over in favor of talk about some of the team’s high-ranking prospects, Bernadina, an outfielder, quietly leads the 51s in hitting at .360 on the season. He brings a six-game hitting streak into the series against Sacramento.

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