Spikes Shutout For Second Night in a Row

Kingham struck out eight in five innings tonight.

The State College Spikes were shutout tonight 5-0, making it the second night in a row the offense was held without a run.  Also for the second night in a row, the Spikes were limited to three hits.  The difference between last night and tonight is that the State College starter gave the offense a chance to compete in the game.

Nick Kingham, the Pirates’ 4th round pick from the 2010 draft, made his second start of the 2011 season tonight, after allowing five runs on six hits in three innings in his debut last Friday.  Things looked bad for Kingham in the first inning.  He allowed a few hard hit balls, giving up a run on three hits in the inning.

The right hander from Las Vegas settled down after that.  He allowed a single to lead off the second, then retired the next ten batters he saw, before allowing a hard hit ground rule double with one out in the fifth.  Kingham responded with two strikeouts, both on curveballs, giving him eight total on the night.  He struck out three in the fifth, after striking out two in the fourth.  His last four strikeouts were on curveballs.  He got a swinging strike to end the fourth inning, then froze two batters for his first two strikeouts of the fifth.  He closed out the frame, and his outing, with a swinging strikeout on another curveball.

When asked what the difference was between his first inning and his next four, Kingham responded:

“Just ball placement, keeping the ball low.  It’s harder to hit when the ball is at your knees, rather than at your belt or at the letters.  So that was a big adjustment I had to make.”

Kingham was working in the 88-92 MPH range tonight, consistently hitting all areas of the range throughout the night.  He threw 70 pitches, with 52 for strikes, which was very efficient.  He constantly pounded the strike zone, keeping the ball low, and wasn’t afraid to pitch inside.  His curveball looked great tonight, getting a lot of guys looking, and getting a few swinging strikeouts.  His curve was previously described as needing work, although based on tonight, it didn’t look like much work was needed.  It comes out looking like a fastball, but has a late break, running in to the strike zone.  He was able to use it a lot tonight due to the large amount of two strike counts he found himself in.  Kingham also flashed a nice changeup two pitches in a row against a left handed batter early in the game, although didn’t get the batter to swing at either pitch

Kevin Kleis came on to pitch three innings, and didn’t have the same success Kingham had.  Kleis allowed four runs on four hits in three innings, with two walks and four strikeouts.  He was mostly working in the high-80s, and was getting hit hard.

The big struggles came from the offense.  The Spikes managed just three hits.  Chris Lashmet got one of those hits, making his pro debut tonight, a day after his signing was officially announced.  Samuel Gonzalez and Jorge Bishop had the other two hits.  Pirates minor league coordinator Frank Kremblas is currently serving as the acting manager for the Spikes, as Kimera Bartee is currently on leave, helping his college team with the College World Series.  When asked about the struggles at the plate, Kremblas responded:

“We’re trying to teach these guys how to pick out pitches to hit that are strikes,” Kremblas said. “Teaching them to be able to do that is what they’re going to have to be able to do in the big leagues.  It’s being able to hit a good fastball, 90-92, but not swing at the other stuff that’s close.  They did a good job of it tonight.  We hit some balls hard, not a lot.  But I think we made their pitchers work.”

“Once they learn, you’re going to see a night where we have eight hits, eight walks, and ten runs, because they’re going to learn how to take pitches, be selective at the plate, and then when they get their pitch, hit it, and hit it hard.”

The Spikes will go on a six game road trip.  Ryan Hafner takes the mound for State College tomorrow.  Tonight concludes my coverage of the Spikes for this trip.  I’ll have some interviews with some of the newly signed draft picks up on the site in the next few days.

If you enjoy this coverage, and wish to see more live reports from Pirates Prospects, consider donating a few dollars to help the site grow.  All donations go toward increasing the site’s live coverage of the minor league system.  The donation button can be found on the top left column of this article.  You can also support the site by purchasing a copy of the 2011 Prospect Guide and the 2011 Annual, which are currently on sale together in the Products section of the site.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Pirates Agree to Terms With 23rd Round Pick Jordan Cooper

Next Story »

Rodriguez Goes 3-For-3 In Debut; Owens Injured

Latest Analysis

  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    1 day ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    6 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    2 weeks ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles