Mercer Gets 4 Hits And Walk-Off; Cunningham Homers In The 12th

Less action than planned on Tuesday for the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates, mostly due to rain in the Bradenton area.� The Marauders’ game against the St. Lucie Mets was postponed.� They will try for two tomorrow.� Yesterday’s game between the Fort Myer Miracle and the Marauders was also rained out, as well as the game that they tried to start on Sunday (but only got into the second inning).� Those games will not be made up.� The GCL Braves at GCL Pirates games were washed out yesterday.� They tried to play two today, but only got one of the games in.

GCL Braves� 5,� GCL Pirates� 1 ..� (box)

Each team had 6 hits this afternoon, but the one that counted was the Braves’ walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 7th.� The Pirates began the scoring with a run in the 3rd inning.� SS Kevin Mort led off with a double, then advanced to third base on DH Justin Howard’s single into right field.� The two pulled off a double steal, with Mort scoring on the steal of home.� The Braves tied the score in the bottom of the 4th with a solo home run.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the 5th, on singles by Howard and CF Junior Sosa, and a walk by 2B Jorge Bishop. A strikeout ended that threat.� Sosa also singled in the 1st inning and stole second base.� LF Exicardo Cayonez also singled in the 4th, but was thrown out trying to steal second.� 1B Jared Lakind made his pro debut, but went 0-for-3 at the plate.

Joely Rodriguez pitched 5 innings in his start, and scattered 3 hits, no walks.� One of those hits was the solo homer in the 4th.� Ryan Hafner also made his pro debut, pitching the 6th inning.� He gave up a lead-off single in the 6th, then got a grounder force out and struck out the next two batters to end the inning and continue the tie.� Hafner began the 7th inning with a single and a walk.� Fraylin Campos relieved Hafner, but he hit the first batter he faced to load the bases.� That set up Braves’ 3B Brandon Drury for the game-winning grand slam.

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Gonzalez’s Walk-Off Homer, Krol’s 30th Save

A busy Friday for the Pirates’ minor league affiliates:

Bradenton Marauders� 5,� Jupiter Hammerheads� 3 (box)

The Marauders posted 14 hits, with each member of the line-up collecting at least one.� C Eric Fryer had a perfect 4-for-4 night, with all four hits singles.� SS Greg Picart had 2 singles, and LF Quincy Latimore doubled and homered.� They scored only 5 runs on those 14 hits, though, leaving 13 runners on base.

Bradenton began scoring in the 2nd inning, on Fryer’s first single and an RBI double by 1B Calvin Anderson. Latimore’s double and a single by DH Jeremy Farrell to score Latimore added another run in the 3rd.� Latimore’s home run over the left field wall made it 3-0 in the 5th inning.� The Marauders took advantage of an error by the Hammerheads to score agin in the 6th.� With one out, Greg Picart singled and 2B Shelby Ford reached on a fielding error in left field, which let the speedy Picart score from first base.� Ford went to third base on the error, and he scored on RF Robbie Grossman’s RBI single.

Nate Baker earned his 2nd win with the Marauders, going 6 shutout innings and allowing only 2 hits, with 4 walks and 5 strikeouts.� Three of those walks came in the bottom of the 1st inning, but Baker got out of that bases-loaded jam with a pop out and two fly outs.� He had two more runners in scoring position in the 2nd, with a walk and a double, but got out of that jam too.� The other single he allowed came with two outs in the 3rd.� After that single, Baker retired the next 10 batters he faced, to finish his night.

Craig Hansen came on in relief of Baker to begin the 7th.� He kept Jupiter from scoring in the 7th, despite two runners in scoring position from a hit batter, a single, and a wild pitch.� The Hammerheads’ only runs came in the 8th, and only one of the three runs was earned.� A double and two walks loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly brought in the earned run.� After a second out, Hansen was relieved by Duke Welker. The first batter Welker faced took a ball into center field, but an error by CF Starling Marte caused two unearned runs to score.� Welker finished that inning with a line out to short.

Noah Krol earned his 30th save of the season with a perfect 9th inning.� He leads the Florida State League in saves — #2 has 28 saves and #3 has 21 saves.� How many saves do you need to have before you get promoted?

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Spikes Throw One-Hitter; Wilson K’s 11

Saturday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates…� The West Virginia Power and Lexington Legends were rained out tonight.� They will go for two tomorrow.

State College� 1,� Aberdeen IronBirds� 0 (box)

Pitchers Tyler Waldron, Ryan Beckman, and Brooks Pounders combined to one-hit the IronBirds tonight.� Waldron made the start with 5 nearly-perfect innings.� The first IronBirds batter of the game was the only one to reach base against Waldron, and he got on when C Matthew Skirving dropped strike three, then made a throwing error when he fired the ball down to first base.� Waldron immediately erased that base runner in a double play, then retired all the rest of the batters he faced, including one more strikeout.

Beckman took the 6th inning, and he also retired the side in order.� Pounders pitched the final three innings.� He gave up back to back walks with one out in the 7th, but left both runners stranded.� Pounders also retired the side in order in the 8th.� The no-hitter was lost in the 9th, when the first batter of the inning doubled into right field.� Pounders retired the next three batters in order, leaving the runner on second base.� Waldron earned his 3rd win of the season, and Pounders earned his first save.

The Spikes batters collected 6 hits and 4 walks, but fell victim to double plays and outfield assists, so they scored only one run.� In the 2nd inning, 1B Matt Curry walked, but was erased in a double play, and LF Pat Irvine singled, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.� Curry walked again in the 4th, but was caught stealing.� SS Gift Ngoepe singled in the 9th, but was thrown out trying for two bases. The lone Spikes’ run came in the 6th inning.� With one out, CF Mel Rojas worked a walk, then DH Gerlis Rodriguez drove a triple into center field, scoring Rojas.� Curry walked for the third time in the game in the 9th, and RF Cole White singled, but both were left on base.� White was the only Spikes’ batter to have two hits.� 2B Kelson Brown also singled.

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Spikes Come From Behind; Morris Wins #5 With Curve

Not a lot of action for the lower minor league affiliates today.� The West Virginia Power and the GCL Pirates had a scheduled day off, and the Bradenton Marauders were rained out — they will play two games on Monday.

State College Spikes� 7,� Auburn Doubledays� 6 (box)

SS Walker Gourley and LF Pat Irvine led the Spikes with 3 hits each as they came from behind to erase a 6-run lead.� It was the largest deficit overcome for a win in the team’s history.

Zack Dodson pitched 4 innings and gave up 6 runs (5 earned) to give Auburn the early lead.� A triple, a single, and a 3-run homer gave Auburn a 3-0 lead in the 1st inning.� Dodson retired the side in order in both the 2nd and 3rd innings, but got into trouble again in the 4th.� A double, a throwing error by 3B Andy Vasquez, a single, and a wild pitch brought in one run.� A passed ball and another single added two more runs, and Auburn had a 6-0 lead.

The Spikes had runners on base in 5 of the first 7 innings, but were not able to push any of their base runners around to score.� They had the bases loaded with one out in the 5th, on a single by Vasquez, a walk to CF Mel Rojas, and a single through the hole into right field by Gourley.� A strikeout and a grounder force out ended the inning without a run scoring.

Then the Spikes got going in the 8th.� RF Adalberto Santos led off with a triple, and 1B Matt Curry walked.� Pat Irvine singled, scoring Santos.� Curry had moved to second base on a wild pitch, then on to third on Irvine’s single, and he and Irvine both scored when DH Chase Lyles smashed the second triple of the inning.� C Matt Skirving doubled, bringing in Lyles, and Andy Vasquez brought in Skirving with a sacrifice fly.� The Spikes had moved to within one run of Auburn, 6-5.

Walker Gourley started the 9th inning rally with a bunt single.� In a strange play, Santos grounded up the middle and was safe at first base, but Gourley, who tried to reach third base on the play, was ruled out because he’d missed touching second base as he was running.� Spikes’ manager Gary Robinson argued, but to no avail, and he was ejected for his efforts.� Santos advanced to second base on a balk, and he scored the tying run when Irvine doubled into center field.

Sandobal Septimo had pitched one scoreless inning, and Trent Stevenson gave the Spikes 3 more scoreless frames.� Jhonatan Ramos came on to pitch a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, sending the game into extra innings.� With one out in the top of the 10th, Vasquez dropped down a bunt and beat it out to first base.� A wild pitch moved him to second base, and both Rojas and Gourley walked, loading the bases.� Santos popped up, and was called out on the infield fly rule, but Matt Curry was the hero, with a single to short that allowed Vasquez to score the go-ahead run.� Ramos kept the Doubledays from scoring in the bottom of the inning, and the Spikes had their come-from-behind win.

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Big First Inning For Curve; Power Win In Extras

Two early games on Wednesday, plus a few more in the evening:

Altoona Curve� 6,� Erie SeaWolves� 3 (box)

The Curve and the SeaWolves played early and scored early this afternoon.� All the scoring was done by the middle of the 3rd inning.� The Curve began the game with 4 runs in the top of the 1st.� SS Chase d’Arnaud went 3-for-4 in the game, and he opened the game by beating out an infield single to short.� He then stole his 19th and 20th bases of the season, then scored from third on 2B Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.�� 1B Matt Hague followed with a solo home run over the left-center field wall.� C Hector Gimenez, who had missed a few games due to illness, walked after the homer, and he scored when RF Miles Durham hit the second home run of the inning over the left field wall.

Erie came right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring 2 runs after 2 outs had been recorded.� After a hit batter and a walk, a grounder to third should have been the end of the inning, but a throwing error by 3B Jose De Los Santos resulted in two runs scoring.

Erie did more 2-out scoring in the 2nd inning, and it was even more costly for the Curve.� OF Gorkys Hernandez is already out for the rest of the season with a broken right ring finger, and now another key player, 2B Jordy Mercer, had to be removed from the game after being injured on a play.� With two outs in the 2nd, a pop up into short left field was “deflected” by Mercer, and fell in for a double as Mercer had to leave the game.� Much defensive shuffling ensued — De Los Santos moved to second base, Josh Harrison came in to play third base, Brandon Jones moved from DH to right field, Miles Durham moved to center field, Anthony Norman came out of the game, and pitcher Justin Wilson had to move into the batting order with no more DH.� After all the rearranging, Erie got two back-to-back singles, scoring a run.

The Curve were still up by one run, but they added some insurance in the top of the 3rd.� Matt Hague doubled and Hector Gimenez singled then stole second base, giving the Curve two runners in scoring position.� Miles Durham’s sacrifice fly plated Hague, then Brandon Jones doubled, bringing in Durham.

That was all the scoring.� The Curve collected only two more hits in the rest of the game — Chase d’Arnaud singled to begin the 4th and moved to second base on a wild pitch, but was left there; LF Yung Chi Chen singled in the 8th, but was forced out at second.� The 8th inning was the closest the Curve came to scoring again.� After Chen was forced out on Jose De Los Santos’ grounder, walks to d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison loaded the bases, but relief pitcher Tom Boleska, in what was probably his first pro at-bat, struck out to end the inning.

Starter Justin Wilson pitched 6 innings and allowed the 3 runs, only one of which was earned.� He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, with 4 strikeouts.� After the 2nd inning, he gave up only a walk and two hits in the rest of his outing.� Tom Boleska had much better luck on the mound than he did at the plate.� He pitched 3 scoreless and hitless innings, striking out 3 batters.� He allowed only a walk, and immediately erased that runner with a double play to end the game.

Altoona’s RHP Derek Hankins has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis today.� He will join the Indians in Syracuse.� Hankins has made 6 starts and 20 relief appearances for the Curve this season and has earned a 5-3 record with 5 saves, and a 1.82 ERA.� Opposing batters have been hitting .215 against Hankins, who has allowed 58 hits in 79 innings of work, with 27 walks and 48 strikeouts.� To make room for Hankins, reliever Brian Bass will be assigned to Altoona, though this might be on paper only.

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