Lynchburg Hillcats vs Wilmington Blue Rocks
Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 9/10/09
The Lynchburg Hillcats won a great pitching matchup tonight, beating the Wilmington Blue Rocks 1-0 to take game two of the best of five series, tying the series up at 1-1. Rudy Owens made the start, and was fantastic, with six shutout innings, four hits allowed, one walk, and six strikeouts. The line was especially impressive considering the Wilmington lineup featured Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, two players who ranked in Baseball America’s top 25 prospects coming in to the 2009 season.
“I needed that one,” Owens said after the game, in reference to his recent struggles coming in to today’s game. “I think that today’s outing was big for me because it shows myself that I can throw against these hitters and that I can succeed like I have been.”
Owens wasn’t the only one succeeding. Matt McSwain came on and pitched a quick one, two, three inning in the seventh, getting Eric Hosmer to ground out to lead off the inning, thanks to a sharp pick from Chase d’Arnaud at second.
Ramon Aguero pitched the eighth, and brought a big change of pace. Owens was pitching 87-91 MPH, followed by low to mid 80s for McSwain. Aguero came on and immediately was throwing 95-96 MPH. The Hillcats got a scare when Tony Sanchez made a wild throw in an attempt to catch Derrick Robinson stealing. The throw went to the shortstop side of the bag and skipped to center field, allowing Robinson to advance. Luckily Robinson wasn’t too alert, as Jose de los Santos bobbled the ball in center, making it very possible for Robinson to score, had he been alert to the mistake.
Aguero got Johnny Giavotella to fly out to center to get out of the jam, which was only one of two situations where the Hillcats pitchers threw with a runner to get in scoring position (a third runner doubled, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple).
Ronald Uviedo came on for the save, pitching mostly in the low 90s, with some good movement. Uviedo got Mike Moustakas to ground out to start off the inning, then allowed a single to Clint Robinson, bringing Eric Hosmer to the plate. Hosmer hit a towering fly ball to right field, but the shot didn’t have the distance and went for out number two. Uviedo ended the game with a strikeout, giving the Hillcats the win.
It should also be noted that the Hillcats’ fielders have adopted the Pirates’ post-game celebration of leaping in to each other after a win.
I will have a video recap of the outings by Owens, McSwain, Aguero, and Uviedo up on the site tomorrow. I also got interviews with Owens, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson, and Jordy Mercer after the game. I’ll be uploading those to the site starting next week.
The World Cup
The Winter League Tracker has been updated.
-Brad Lincoln pitched five strong innings in his World Cup debut, allowing one run on five hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. The run came via a solo homer. Lincoln left with a 7-1 lead, in line for the win, but the bullpen blew the lead and lost the game.
-Pedro Alvarez went 1 for 5 with two strikeouts in the same game, batting seventh in the order.
-Tom Boleska pitched 1.2 shutout innings in relief for Great Britain, allowing just one hit.