Mesa knocked off Scottsdale for the second straight day, winning on Tuesday afternoon by a 7-4 score. It was the fifth straight loss for the Scorpions, who used five different Pirates players today. At the plate, Scottsdale continued to have trouble making contact, following up a 17 strikeout game on Friday, with 15 strikeouts on Tuesday.
For the first time, three Pittsburgh Pirates players were in the starting lineup. Alen Hanson was at shortstop batting lead-off. Alex Dickerson was in left field, batting in the clean-up spot and Gift Ngoepe was batting ninth and playing second base.
Leading off the game, Alen Hanson tried unsuccessfully to bunt his way on, as the first baseman retired him unassisted. He went down swinging in his second time AB. He was called out on strikes to lead off the sixth inning, this time failing to get an attempted bunt down with one strike. With Ngoepe on second in the eighth inning, Hanson singled to put runners on the corners with no outs and Scottsdale down by five runs. Hanson made two errors for the second straight game, each time making a fielding and throwing error.
Alex Dickerson came up in the first inning with two outs and a man on first base. He hit a double, but the runner was thrown out trying to score, ending the inning. In the fourth, Dickerson struck out swinging. He walked to start the seventh inning and came around to score three batters later. Dickerson lined out to shortstop to end the eighth inning.
In the third inning, Gift Ngoepe led off and was called out on strikes. He went down swinging to end the top of the fifth inning. Leading off the eighth, he picked up his first base hit of the AFL season, a double. Ngoepe scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly, making it 7-3 Mesa. He came up again in the ninth, with two outs and a man on first base. Ngoepe struck out for the third time, ending the game. He is 1-for-11 this season.
Matt Benedict came in during the third inning with his team trailing 3-0 and runners on the corners. The runner from first base stole second, then Benedict hit the batter with his fifth pitch, loading the bases. He would get a ground ball that would have ended the inning, but Alen Hanson threw the ball away, allowing two runs to score. The game got out of hand with the next hitter, who hit a ground rule double to make it 7-0. Benedict got a ground out to first base to end the inning. He threw 12 pitches, nine for strikes.
In the fourth, Benedict started off with a ground out to Hanson for the first out. He then walked a batter, which was followed by a single that put runners on first and second. Benedict kept Mesa off the board though, getting a line out to right field and a strikeout to end the inning. That was the end of his day. He threw 29 pitches total, 20 for strikes.
Zack Thornton came on in the seventh inning. He got the lead-off hitter to line out to Dickerson for the first out. The next batter grounded out to first base on the first pitch. Thornton got a grounder to Hanson, but he couldn’t handle the play, allowing the runner to reach. The next batter reached on an infield single back to Thornton. He got out of the jam, striking out the next batter to end the inning. He threw just 12 pitches, nine for strikes. That was the end of his day.