Lots of action on Saturday in the Pirates’ minor league organization, including two afternoon games:
Williamsport Crosscutters 7, �State College Spikes 4
Each team posted 10 hits, including 3 by DH Aaron Baker, but the Spikes came up short. �The Crosscutters jumped onto the scoreboard with 3 runs in the 1st inning, off starter Mike Felix, who was back to work after being suspended. �Felix began the game with back-to-back walks, then gave up a run with an RBI single. �A sacrifice fly an another RBI single brought in two more runs. �Felix scattered two hits over the next three innings, and gave up another run in the 4th on a fielding error, a stolen base, and a single.
The Spikes had a 3-run inning in the 5th. �With two outs, CF Evan Chambers singled and went to second on a wild pitch. �Aaron Baker doubled, scoring Chambers, and 1B Deybis Benitez brought in Baker with an RBI single. �3B Pat Irvine’s single scored Benitez, and the Spikes were within one run, 4-3. �
Ricardo Paulino took over for Felix for the 5th inning. �Each team scored a run in the 6th. The Crosscutters unearned run came on a single, a passed ball, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single. �The Spikes answered with back-to-back singles by 2B Elevys Gonzalez and C Miguel Mendez. �Gonzales went to third on Mendez’s single, and he scored when LF Butch Biela bounced into a double play. �
Williamsport scored twice more, once in the 7th on a throwing error and a triple, and again in the 8th, on a single and a triple. �Paulino was responsible for both of those runs (one earned). Teddy Fallon pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th. �
GCL Blue Jays 2, GCL Bradention Pirates 1
The pitchers dueled in this early game, but it was the Jays’ pitchers who came out on top. �Each team was held to 6 hits, and 3B Walker Gourley led the Pirates with two of them, a single and a double. �The only run that the Pirates scored was unearned. �SS Benjamin Gonzalez began the 4th inning by reaching base on a throwing error. �1B Jairo Marquez grounded into a force out, with Gonzalez out at second and Marquez replacing him at first base. �Gourley lined a single into left field, moving Marquez to second base, and LF Rogelios Noris lined another single into left, allowing Marquez to score. �Two strikeouts ended the inning, and that was all the scoring the Pirates would do. �Gourley doubled in the 6th inning and moved to third base on a wild pitch, but could not make it home. �The only other time the Pirates had two runners on base was in the 3rd inning when C Jesus Aguilera and RF Gemmy Gonzalez hit back-to-back singles. �A grounder force out and a double play ended the inning without a run scoring. �
Brent Klinger pitched 3 innings to start for the Pirates. �He gave up a run in the 2nd inning, on two singles and two ground outs, and he also walked 2 batters in the 3rd inning. �Rinku Singh pitched the next 2 scoreless innings. �Singh gave up a walk in the 4th inning but eliminated that runner with a double play. �Then he hit a batter with a pitch in the 5th inning, and erased that runner with another double play. �Melkin Laureano took over for the 6th inning, and that was when the Blue Jays broke the 1-1 tie, with a single and a triple. �Laureano was charged with the loss. �He pitched 2 innings and got all but one of his outs by the strikeout — struck out the side in the 7th. �Diomedes Garcia pitched a scoreless 8th inning to finish the game for the Pirates. �
In the evening:
Lynchburg Hillcats 2, �Winston-Salem Dash 1
The Hillcats took Game One when they broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the top of the 7th. �The Dash had scored first, in the bottom of the 1st inning. �Starter Rudy Owens gave up a double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single to bring in the run. �
The Hillcats missed a scoring opportunity in the 1st inning. �SS Chase d’Arnaud singled but was caught stealing. �Then CF Alex Presley and RF Jamie Romak each reached base safely on fielding errors. �Presley tried to come around from first base to score when Romak’s ball went past the first baseman and into right field, but he was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. �The ‘Cats did score when�1B Matt Hague led off the 2nd inning with a solo home run, tying the game at 1-1. �
Rudy Owens retired the side in the 2nd inning, then was relieved by�Matt McSwain�to begin the 3rd. �McSwain pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits. �
The Hillcats continued to threaten in each of the next three innings, with two base runners on in each of the 3rd and the 4th. �In the 5th inning, singles by d’Arnaud, Presley, and Romak loaded the bases, but a line out and a ground out ended the inning. �Finally, in the top of the 7th, d’Arnaud led off with a double for his 4th hit of the game. �Presley bunted him to third base, and 3B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly brought d’Arnaud with the go-ahead run. �
RJ Rodriguez pitched a scoreless 7th inning to preserve the win. �McSwain earned his 11th win of the season, which puts him in a tie for the league lead, and Rodriguez earned his league-leading 27th save.
Dash 9, Hillcats 7
A 6-run 3rd inning gave the Dash the boost they needed to salvage a split of the doubleheader, despite three home runs by the Hillcats. �The Dash scored one run in the bottom of the 1st, with a single, a walk, a grounder, and an error by 2B Chase d’Arnaud. �C Eric Fryer gave the Hillcats a 3-1 lead in the 2nd inning with a 3-run homer, following RF Jamie Romak’s homer and Matt Hague being hit by a pitch. �
The Dash came roaring back in the third inning. �Lynchburg starter Bryan Morris gave up a double and an RBI single (run #1). �After two strikeouts, Morris allowed another RBI single (#2) and walked the next two batters to load the bases. �A double and a fielding error by Jamie Romak cleared the bases (#3, 4, 5). �Morris walked one more batter, then he was relieved by Chris Cullen. �The first batter Cullen faced reached on 3B Josh Harrison’s throwing error, and run #6 came in before Cullen could get the third out. �Cullen gave up another run on a homer in the 4th inning. �Tom Boleska pitched the last 2 innings. �He gave up a run in the 5th, on a single, an infield single that hit Boleska and ricocheted back toward the plate (Boleska was ok and stayed in the game), and an RBI ground out. �
The Hillcats added 4 more runs in the 5th inning on two 2-run homers. �Eric Fryer walked, and Chase d’Arnaud blasted his 4th home run with the Hillcats to bring in Fryer. �Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch, and SS Jordy Mercer hit his 9th homer of the season, bringing in Harrison. �CF Jose De Los Santos singled in the 6th inning, and stole his 51st base of the season (second in the league — Derrick Robinson of Wilmington has stolen 68 bases).
The Hillcats are the Carolina League Northern Division champs from the first-half of the season, so they will be in the playoffs. �They will be the home team for the first two games of the best-of-five Division round and the 5th game, if necessary. �The second-half race is still hotly contested, though the Hillcats are in last (4th) place in the Northern Division now. �If the Hillcats advance to the Championship round, they will again be the home team for the first two games of that best-of-five series. �
Altoona Curve 6, �Erie Sea Wolves 3
DH Pedro Alvarez led the Curve with 2 hits, including a 2-run homer, and Kyle Bloom earned his 6th win tonight. �The Curve got busy in the top of the 1st inning. �With one out, 3B Ray Chang walked and Alvarez singled. �1B Jason Delaney brought in Chang with an RBI double. �SS Brian Friday brought Alvarez in from third base with a sacrifice fly. �When the Erie shortstop made a fielding error on RF Miles Durham’s grounder, Delaney was able to score too, and the Curve had a 3-0 lead.
The Sea Wolves got one run back in the bottom of the frame, with a double, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single. �Kyle Bloom retired the next 10 batters, then allowed a lone single in the 4th inning. �He gave up another run in the 5th inning on a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly. Bloom exited after 7 innings, his longest outing of the season. �He allowed 6 hits and one walk, with 5 strikeouts. �
The Curve added some insurance in the 5th with Alvarez’s 2-run homer, bringing in CF Gorkys Hernandez, who had singled. �Miles Durham also homered, a solo shot in the 6th inning.
Donnie Veal pitched a scoreless 8th inning, working around his own throwing error and a walk. �Scott Nestor had some trouble in the 9th inning. �He gave up a lead-off single, then threw two wild pitches and walked the next batter. �A grounder force out allowed a run to score. �He walked one more batter, before ending the inning and the game. �
Hickory Crawdads 9, �West Virginia Power 5
The Crawdad came from behind with a 5-run 6th inning to give Duke Welker his 11th loss of the season. �2B Danny Bomback led the Power with a double and a single, and RF Starling Marte homered, but it wasn’t enough.
The Power had the early lead, as they scored in four of the first 5 innings. �In the 1st, with two outs, C Tony Sanchez walked and went to second on DH Calvin Anderson’s single. �LF�
Quincy Latimore was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and 1B Kyle Morgan walked to force in Sanchez. �A single by Morgan and Danny Bomback’s double brought in a second run in the 3rd inning. �Starling Marte homered to give the Power a 3-0 lead in the 4th inning. �In the 5th inning, the Power scored 2 more runs. �Morgan was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and 3B Bobby Spain singled into right field. �Both moved into scoring position on the throw in from the outfield. �Bomback’s ground out brought Morgan home. �SS Adenson Chourio’s single plate
d Spain with the Power’s 5th run. �Unfortunately that was all the scoring, and even all the hitting the Power would do. �They went down in order over the next 4 innings, including 9 strikeouts (9 of 12 outs), and all three batters struck out in the 6th.
Quinton Miller pitched 5 innings and gave up 3 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits. �In the 3rd inning, a hit batter, a single, a missed catch error by Bobby Spain, and a passed ball brought in one unearned run. �In the 5th inning, Spain’s fielding error, along with a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI grounder gave the Crawdads two more runs.�
Duke Welker took the mound in relief for the 6th inning, and he got into trouble quickly. �A walk and a 2-run homer brought in two runs to tie the score. �Then two singles, a wild pitch on strike three, and a bases-clearing triple gave the Crawdads an 8-5 lead. �Noah Krol pitched a scoreless 7th inning, including 2 strikeouts. �Ryan Kelly pitched the last two innings. �He gave up a single and a double, but the lead runner was caught in a run-down between third base and the plate, and was tagged out. �Kelly gave up a solo homer in the 9th, then another single and double combination. �Once again, a throw in from CF Robbie Grossman was on-target and the lead runner was out at the plate. �