Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with an afternoon game in Charleston. The GCL Pirates have the day off.
Greensboro Grasshoppers 10, West Virginia Power 2
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Three late-inning rallies gave the Grasshoppers the advantage over the Power this afternoon. Power starter Colton Cain pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk. The first ‘Hoppers’ run came in the 1st inning, on a double and an RBI single. Cain allowed only one base runner over the next two innings (hit batter), then gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th, to give Greensboro a 3-0 lead. Cain and C Kawika Emsley-Pai had two bases stolen against them in the 1st inning (one runner, two bases), and a double steal in the 4th. Kevin Decker replaced Cain to begin the 5th, and retired the side in order. In the 6th, Decker gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single. There were three stolen bases in that inning. Decker was still pitching in the 7th, when 3 more runs scored. Three more stolen bases contributed to the scoring, which also included two walks, a sacrifice fly, an RBI double and an RBI single. The Grasshoppers had an 8-0 lead.
The Power batters went down in order in the first two innings, and had only 3 base runners over the first 6 innings. Emsley-Pai led off the 3rd with a single lined into left field, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base. 1B Chase Lyles singled in the 5th and was left on base. SS Kevin Mort singled to open the 6th, and was erased in a double play. 2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 7th, and he was also out in a double play, when CF Mel Rojas lined out to first and Vasquez was easily doubled off. Finally, after that double play, three consecutive hits pushed the first Power run across the plate. DH Cole White and Lyles hit back-to-back singles, and LF Rogelios Noris drove in White with a line drive double into left.
Justin Ennis pitched the 8th inning, and gave the ‘Hoppers another 2-run homer, following a single. The Power got one of the runs back in the 8th. With two outs, Vasquez was hit by a pitch, and Rojas walked. White lined a single into center field, and Vasquez came around from second to score. Jason Townsend pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Power also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.
The Altoona Curve have a scheduled day off today (Monday), and the West Virginia Power are off for the first day of their All-Star Break. The All-Star Game will be played in Delmarva on Tuesday, with Brandon Cumpton, Jameson Taillon, and Dan Grovatt representing the Power.
Auburn Doubledays 7 , State College Spikes 6
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Pirates’ 2nd round draft pick from 2010, Stetson Allie, made his professional debut tonight, as the starting pitcher for the State College Spikes, though he did not factor into the decision. Allie struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up a single, struck out the next batter, and gave up an RBI double. A line out ended the inning. The second inning went better, as Allie retired three Auburn batters in order, including another strikeout.
The third inning was another tough one for Allie. A single and a walk opened the inning. After a fly out, both runners stole the next base, and a walk loaded the bases. Allie also walked the next batter, forcing in a run. That signaled the end of his evening. Cliff Archibald relieved Allie, but Archibald also walked in a run (charged to Allie), before getting the inning-ending double play. Allie was responsible for 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, with 3 strikeouts, in 2.1 innings.
State College got onto the scoreboard with a run in the 3rd. SS Kirk Singer led off with a double, then DH Carlos Mesa singled, moving Singer to third. C Samuel Gonzalez’s RBI single brought in Singer, to cut the Auburn lead to 3-1. The Spikes tied the game in the 4th. 1B Walker Gourley led off with a single and moved to second base on a wild pitch, then to third on a ground out. Singer walked, then CF Taylor Lewis’ sacrifice fly scored Gourley. Singer stole second base, then scored on RF Justin Benscko’s RBI single.
Archibald went on to pitch the 4th and 5th innings, allowing a walk and a single, but keeping Auburn scoreless. Emmanuel De Leon relieved Archibald to begin the 6th inning, and gave up only a double in that inning. With two outs in the 7th, De Leon gave up a double and a 2-run homer. The Spikes got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning, with a single by Benscko, a stolen base and a missed catch error to put Benscko onto third, and a sacrifice fly by Gonzalez.
De Leon started the top of the 8th by giving up a walk and a stolen base. After two outs, a single, a throwing error by Singer, and a double gave Auburn 2 more runs, for a 7-4 lead. Jesus Brito relieved De Leon and ended the 8th inning with a fly out. Singer tried to make up for his error with an RBI double after a single by 3B Brian Sharp, bringing the score to 7-5. Brito pitched a scoreless top of the 9th. The Spikes tried for another rally in the bottom of the 9th. With one out, Benscko singled, then advanced to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a second wild pitch. After a walk to Mesa, Gonzalez brought in Benscko with a sacrifice fly. But a strikeout ended the inning and the game without the Spikes being able to catch up.
Less action than usual for a Sunday afternoon — the Bradenton Marauders are still on their All-Star break, and the game between the West Virginia Power and the Lakewood BlueClaws was cancelled due to wet grounds at Appalachian Power Park. The South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday.
Altoona Curve 4, Harrisburg Senators 1
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LF Quincy Latimore and RF Anthony Norman posted 2 hits each, and Latimore scored 3 of the Curve’s 4 runs as Altoona took the win. Latimore’s first hit was a double lined into left field in the bottom of the 2nd inning. He scored on Norman’s single. The two combined again in the 4th inning for another run. With two outs, Latimore walked, then Norman singled into right field. When the Harrisburg right fielder made a throwing error, Latimore had the chance to round third and score. Latimore homered to lead off the 7th inning, and at that point, he was responsible for all of the Curve runs.
With former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier on the mound for Harrisburg in the 8th, CF Starling Marte began the inning with a single. Marte advanced to second base on a ground out by 3B Jeremy Farrell, then he stole third base. C Tony Sanchez’s RBI single up the middle brought Marte in to score the final run for the Curve.
Phillip Irwin made the start for the Curve and pitched 6 scoreless innings. He hit a batter in the top of the 1st, then retired the next 13 Harrisburg batters, until he gave up a lone single in the 5th. He allowed a single and a walk in the 6th, for the biggest threat he had faced, but left both on base to end the inning. Bryan Morris relieved Irwin to begin the 7th inning. He put the side down in order in that inning, but gave up an unearned run in the 8th. A throwing error by Sanchez, a double, and an RBI ground out brought in the run. Morris allowed a single in the 9th, but did not allow another run to score. Irwin won his first game of the season, and Morris earned his third Save.
More brief notes for Saturday, since we’re on the road….
Florida State League All-Star Game, played in Clearwater, Florida
FSL North 5, FSL South 3
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Three Marauders’ players got in on this game: C Ramon Cabrera, 1B Aaron Baker, and 2B Jarek Cunningham were all starters for the South squad. The North scored first, with a single, a triple, and fielding error in center field in the bottom of the 1st, for a 2-0 lead. The South tied it up in the top of the 4th, thanks to the Marauders. Cabrera led off with a single through to left field. After two outs, Baker brought in Cabrera with a 2-run homer to tie the game.
The North took the lead again in the bottom of the 5th. A walk, a stolen base, an RBI double, and an RBI single gave the North a 4-2 lead. The North added some insurance in the bottom of the 8th, on two singles and a double. The South had one last chance in the top of the 9th, which began with a lead-off single. Baker grounded out, moving the runner to second base, and another single put him on third. A sacrifice fly brought in the run, but a ground out ended the rally and the game.
Cabrera played 3.5 innings before being replaced by another catcher. He went 1-for-2, with a ground out in his other at-bats. Cunningham played 5.5 innings before letting another second baseman get into the game. He grounded out and popped out in his two plate appearances. Baker played the whole game, and went 1-for-2 at the plate, with two walks.