Solar Sox Fall In Game 2

Phoenix Desert Dogs� 6,� Mesa Solar Sox� 3

The Solar Sox could not keep their bats going in the later innings, losing to Phoenix late Wednesday evening.� Phoenix got onto the scoreboard first in the top of the 2nd inning.� A double by RF Michael Taylor (A’s) and a single by LF Jerry Sands (Dodgers) put runners on the corners with no outs.� A double play eliminated Sands but let Taylor score with the first run of the game.� Three consecutive singles brought in a second run.� The fourth straight single would have plated another run, but Mesa’s CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Mets) made an excellent throw from center field to C Tim Kennelly (Phillies) to nail the lead runner at the plate.

The Solar Sox threatened in the 1st inning, when 2B Jordany Valdespin (Mets) led off with a single, then stole second base.� A fielding error at short put 3B Brandon Wood (Angels) an base, and RF Andrew Lambo moved both runners up a base with a fly out to center field.� Both were left in scoring position, though, when a line out ended the inning.� The Sox came right back in the bottom of the second with three consecutive singles to lead off.� LF Jeremy Moore (Angels) singled up the middle, then stole second base.� Kennelly’s grounder up the middle let Moore race around from second to score.� Kennelly moved to second base on DH Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) line drive single, then advanced to third on a grounder force out by SS Andrew Romine (Angels).� Valdespin brought Kennelly in with an RBI grounder, tying the game at 2-2.

Jake Muyco (Cubs) made the start for Mesa.� He retired the side in order in the 1st, gave up the two runs in the 2nd, then gave up a walk and hit a batter in the 3rd, but got out of that jam with a double play.� Chris Carpenter (Cubs) replaced Muyco to begin the 4th.� Carpenter began the inning with a walk, then two ground outs moved the runner to third.� An RBI single brought the run home, to give Phoenix a 3-2 lead.� Carpenter gave up a single in the 5th, but Kennally threw the runner out as he tried to steal second base.� Kyle Smith (Cubs) pitched the next two innings for the Solar Sox, allowing just one walk and striking out 3 batters.

But the Solar Sox were not able to catch up.� They put a runner on base in each of the 4th and 5th innings, on singles by Romine and Wood, then went down in order in the 6th and 7th innings.

Eric Niesen (Mets) took the mound for Mesa to begin the 8th inning, and gave up a lead-off home run to Taylor.� Wood responded with his own solo home run in the bottom of the inning, and the score was 4-3 with Phoenix still ahead.

The top of the 9th saw David Cales (Cubs) take the mound for the Solar Sox.� The first two batters of the inning singled, and the next reached base on a throwing error by Cales, when he tried to field a bunt and throw to third for the force out.� Instead of being out, the lead runner scored on the play.� A double play gave Cales two outs, but left a runner on third, and Taylor’s RBI single (his third hit of the day) plated that runner to give Phoenix a 6-3 lead.� Flaherty walked in the bottom of the 9th, but the Solar Sox could not bring him around to score.

Andrew Lambo, the only one of the Pirates’ farmhands to get into this game, went 0-for-4 at the plate, though his out in the 1st inning did advance the baserunners.� He grounded out twice and flied out one more time in his remaining at-bats.

Tony Sanchez’s AFL blog is up and running — he says that the pitcher who threw the pitch that broke his jaw is now his teammate on the Solar Sox.

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AFL Begins With Good Hitting, Poor Fielding

Mesa Solar Sox� 8,� Phoenix Desert Dogs� 3

The Arizona Fall League kicked off today with a win for the Solar Sox.� The Pirates’ farmhands hit well, but had a few problems on defense.

LF Andrew Lambo got the Solar Sox going in the 2nd inning when he lined a 2-out single into center field.� CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Mets) drove in Lambo with a double into center field, to give Mesa a 1-0 lead.� Then the Solar Sox busted out with 5 runs in the 4th inning, as they sent 11 batters to the plate.� 1B Matt Rizzotti (Phillies) greeted a new Phoenix pitcher with a single into left field.� Both C Tony Sanchez and Andrew Lambo added their own singles, and Lambo’s scored Rizzotti.� Sanchez went to third and Lambo to second on the throw in to the plate.� A wild pitch let Sanchez score from third base and put Lambo on third.� Nieuwenhuis drove in Lambo with a single, and SS Jordy Mercer also singled, putting runners on the corners.� 2B Jordany Valdespin (Mets) grounded to short, but the only play was at first, so Nieuwenhuis scored and Mercer was safe at second.� DH Josh Harrison struck out — only the second out of the inning.� 3B Brandon Wood (Angels) singled, plating Mercer.� Two more walks, to RF Jeremy Moore (Angels) and Rizzotti, loaded the bases, but Sanchez struck out to end the inning.

Bradley Holt (Mets) made the start for the Solar Sox.� He pitched 3 scoreless innings, allowing only one walk in the 1st inning and one single in the 3rd.� Solar Sox’ RF John Mayberry (Phillies) injured his leg on that play — possibly making a dive for the soft liner?� He had to leave the game, and was replaced by Jeremy Moore.

Tyson Brummett (Phillies) relieved Holt to begin the 4th inning, and he got two strikeouts, then gave up a single and a 2-run homer to RF Michael Taylor (A’s).� Brummett gave up another run in the 5th, on a single, a stolen base, a passed ball by Tony Sanchez, and another single.� A fielding error by 3B Brandon Wood put a second runner on base, but Brummett was able to get out of the jam with a grounder to short, fielded by Mercer.� The Solar Sox still held the lead, 6-3.

Nick Carr (Mets) pitched two scoreless innings for the Sox.� He gave up only one hit, a single to Taylor in the 6th.� After a grounder force out at second, a throwing error by Mercer put a runner on second, but the runner was left on base.� Robert Fish (Angels) and Steven Geltz (Angels) each pitched a scoreless inning to wrap up the game for the Solar Sox, but the Sox bats were not done yet.

In the top of the 8th, Nieuwenhuis led off with a walk, and a single by Valdespin put runners on the corners.� Harrison lifted a sacrifice fly to bring in Nieuwenhuis for a 7-3 lead.� Jeremy Moore added the Solar Sox’ final run in the top of the 9th with a solo home run.

Holt earned the win for Mesa.� Harrison went 0-for-4 with one RBI.� Sanchez was 1-for-5, and Mercer went 1-for-4.� Lambo led the Pirates’ farmhands with a 2-for-5 afternoon and one RBI.� Brandon Wood had 3 hits for Mesa in the game.� Mercer had two throwing errors, and Sanchez had the passed ball.

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AFL Pitchers Announced

The remainder of the Pirates’ contingent for the Arizona Fall League was announced today.� Pitching for the Mesa Solar Sox this fall will be Justin Wilson, Aaron Pribanic, and Brian Leach. While all three have been starters during the regular season, it appears that Wilson will have a starting role, and Pribanic and Leach will be mostly used in relief.

The pitchers will join catcher Tony Sanchez, infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, and outfielder Andrew Lambo on the Solar Sox.

The AFL season begins in three weeks, on Tuesday October 12th, and runs through Thursday November 18th.� We’ll be following our Pirates’ farmhands in their Arizona adventures.

The Carribbean winter leagues will also be starting up in October:� Mexican Pacific League on Oct 12th, Dominican League on Oct. 22nd, Venezuelan League on Oct 12th, and Puerto Rican League on Oct 22nd.� We’ll also watch the Pirates’ players, farmhands, and friends in those leagues.

Pirates’ John Bowker made another start for the Pirates tonight (Tuesday), this time in right field.� He went 0-for-4 with an RBI, driving in a run in the 1st inning with a grounder to short, which was misplayed for an error.� Bowker has gone 4-for-10 in his last three games, with a homer, and 3 RBI.

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Altoona Curve Win Eastern League Championship

Altoona Curve� 5,� Trenton Thunder� 2 …����� (box)

IMG_4068The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League Championship tonight, defeating the Trenton Thunder in Game 4 of the championship series in Trenton.� Starter Tony Watson, who was also the winning pitcher a week ago when the Curve won the divisional series, earned the win again tonight.� Closer Daniel Moskos (photo, while with the Indy Indians), earned his 5th save of the playoffs.� He had a save in each of the Curve’s three wins in the championship series, and also in two of their three wins in the divisional series.� The offensive star of the game was DH Jim Negrych, who went 3-for-5 and led the way with 3 RBI.

Watson pitched 6 innings and struck out 10 Thunder batters.� He gave up 2 runs on only 5 hits and 2 walks.� The Thunder began the bottom of the 1st with a single off the bat of CF Austin Krum, who also stole second base.� After two strikeouts, Watson walked C Austin Romine, but then struck out the next batter, leaving the two runners on base.

Watson gave up two hits and a run in the 3rd.� 2B Matthew Cusick led off with a triple into right field.� Two outs later, he scored on RF Daniel Brewer’s line drive single into right field, and the Thunder had a 1-0 lead.

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IMG_3661The Curve had put one runner on base in the 1st, when 3B Josh Harrison reached base on an error, then stole second base.� In the 2nd, Negrych hit a 2-out single up the middle, then CF Jose De Los Santos walked, but all three of them were left on base.� When the Thunder made another fielding error in the 4th, the Curve were able to capitalize.� 1B Matt Hague led off with a walk, then a fielding error by the Thunder first baseman put LF Andrew Lambo on first and Hague on third.� That brought up the offensive hero, Jim Negrych (photo, with the Indy Indians).� Negrych slapped a grounder into left field for a 2-RBI single, bringing in both Hague and Lambo to give the Curve a 2-1 lead.

The Curve rallied again, with help from Negrych, in the 5th.� Harrison led off with a line drive into center field, and he moved to second base on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out.� Hague lifted a single into right field, and Harrison raced around from second.� When the throw in from the outfield ticked off the catcher Romine’s glove, Harrison scored and Hague advanced to second base.� Hague moved up to third base on Lambo’s ground out.� The Thunder intentionally walked C Hector Gimenez, and Negrych again came to the plate with a runner in scoring position.� Negrych lined into left field, with the Trenton LF Damon Sublett giving chase.� Sublett went for the sliding catch — and missed.� As the ball went on behind Sublett, Negrych was safely into second base with a double, and Hague scored, giving the Curve a 4-1 lead.

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Curve Shut Out Trenton, Take Advantage In Series

Altoona Curve� 5,� Trenton Thunder� 0 …������ (box)

The Curve took advantage of the unexpected day off yesterday, and came back to action ready to roll.� Three Curve pitchers combined to shut out the Thunder in Trenton, as the Curve took a 2-games-to-one lead in the 5-game Eastern League Championship Series.

Justin Wilson made the start for the Curve, pitching 7 innings and allowing only 5 hits and a walk, with 3 strikeouts.� Wilson had to work around at least one runner on base in every inning but one, as he scattered the hits and the walk, and also had a batter reach third base on a fielding error by Anthony Norman in right field.� The Thunder put two runners on base in the 3rd inning, when Wilson got two outs, then gave up a single and a walk.� That was the closest the Thunder came to hurting Wilson, though, and he calmly got a fly out to end the inning.� Wilson was also able to take advantage of timely double plays to erase base runners in the 6th and 7th innings.� He earned his second post-season win, and increased his total of post-season scoreless innings to 13.

LF Andrew Lambo was the first to provide Wilson with some run support, when he blasted a solo home run, rising over the left-center field wall in the 2nd inning.

The Curve batters were quiet for the next two innings, until DH Jim Negrych walked to start a two-out rally in the 5th.� A passed ball put Negrych on second base, and CF Jose De Los Santos singled to second base, moving Negrych to third.�� Norman slipped a grounder just out of the reach of the Trenton second baseman, scoring Negrych.� 2B Chase d’Arnaud was hit by a pitch, loading the bases.� That gave 3B Josh Harrison the opportunity to drive another single into right field, bringing in both De Los Santos and Norman, and the Curve had a 4-0 lead.

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