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.
Friday’s action with the Pirate’s lower minor league teams — the brief version, as we’re on the road:
The Bradenton Marauders are off for the Florida State League’s All-Star weekend. The 50th FSL All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, in Clearwater, FL. Representing the Marauders: C Ramon Cabrera and INF Aaron Baker and Jarek Cunningham. Kyle McPherson and Brett Lorin were also named to the team but won’t be participating because McPherson was promoted to AA, and Lorin is injured.
The Pirates have signed Jon Schwind (41st round pick), and he will report to the GCL Pirates. Schwind was listed as a catcher when drafted, but he also plays some infield and out field.
Williamsport Crosscutters 7, State College Spikes 0
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Not the way the Spikes wanted to start the season. Starter Nick Kingham had two good innings, allowing only a single, but things fell apart in the 3rd. That inning began with a lead-off homer, then after one out, a single and a stolen base put a runner on second. After the second out, an RBI single drove in the second run of the inning. A walk and a 3-run homer made it 5-0. Joely Rodriguez took over for Kingman in the 4th, and gave up an unearned run on a double, a wild pitch, and a passed ball. Rodriguez also loaded the bases in the 5th, but got out of the jam with a fly out. Vince Payne pitched the next two innings, allowing only two singles. Joan Montero took the bottom of the 8th, and gave up the final Williamsport run on a hit batter, a walk, and an RBI double.
The Spikes collected 6 hits. C Samuel Gonzalez singled and doubled, and RF Carlos Mesa singled twice, while two newly signed draft picks, CF Taylor Lewis and DH Derek Trent, each singled. The Spikes threatened in the 3rd inning, when 3B Walker Gourley was hit by a pitch, then Trent reached base on a fielding error by the Williamsport left fielder. Gourley came around from first and tried to score on the play, but was tagged out at the plate. They had another chance in the 4th, when LF Exicardo Cayonez was hit by a pitch and Gonzalez doubled, moving Cayonez to third, but both were left on base.
Moving on to look at the middle infielders in the Pirates’ minor league organization:
Jorge Bishop — R/R, 5′ 10″, 152 lb
Bishop is a Panamanian native who did very well at age 18 in the VSL, where he hit .308 with 9 homers and 41 RBI. He made his US debut in 2010. In the early part of the season he got 4 fill-in starts with A+ Bradenton, where he went 3-for-12, which was very nice for playing a few levels up. He spent the rest of the season with the GCL Pirates, where he hit .257 in 50 games. He had solid power, with 10 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 homers, and the potential is there for his power to improve. Bishop split his playing time between second base and shortstop and is thought to have good speed — 12 stolen bases. He’ll turn 20 years old this week, and he should be ready to move up to State College for 2011.
Walker Gourley — R/R, 6′ 0″, 180 lb
Gourley was the Pirates’ 13th round pick in the 2009 draft. He missed a lot of playing time due to an ankle injury in 2009, but was slated to move to State College for 20100. He also got in a few games as a fill-in at Bradenton in May of 2010, where he went 1-for-8 at the plate, before the State College season began. Gourley did not hit well at State College, though, and he did not show much power either. His best month was July, when he had a .204 average and 13 RBI. He finished with a .168 average, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, and 23 RBI. Strikeouts are a big problem for Walker — 76 in 61 games (32.8%). Gourley’s playing time was divided between second base (32 games), shortstop (21 games), and a little bit at third (9 games). There is some question about whether he has the range to be an effective middle infielder, or whether he might be better moved to third base. Gourley will turn 20 years old in June, so he still has time to figure it out, as long as he starts hitting soon and cuts back on the strikeouts.
Losses for all of the Pirates’ affiliates on Friday night:
Reading Phillies� 9,� Altoona Curve� 4 …������� (box)
The R-Phils attacked Curve starter Jared Hughes early, and the Curve bats could not keep up.� Hughes retired the side in order in the 1st inning, but gave up 3 unearned runs on a walk, a single, and two errors in the 2nd inning — the throwing error was by Hughes.� A walk, a double, and a single added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning.� In the 4th inning, Hughes gave up another 3 runs on two singles, a triple, and a double by former Indy Indian Tagg Bozied.� Hughes was done after those 4 innings, having allowed 8 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks, though he struck out 6 batters.
The Curve hitters were hitless in the first 4 innings.� The only batter to get on base was CF Anthony Norman, who reached in the 3rd on Bozied’s fielding error at first.� Two home runs, one by C Kris Watts in the 5th, and one by 2B Chase d’Arnaud in the 6th, got the Indians onto the scoreboard, but they were still trailing 8-2.
Each team scored in the 7th.� Tom Boleska had relieved Hughes to begin the 5th inning, and he retired the first 7 batters he faced in order.� Then in the 7th, he walked Bozied, then gave up a single and a double, allowing Bozied to score.� In the bottom of the frame, 1B Matt Hague led off with a single, then scored on singles by Watts and Norman, to make it 9-3.� The Curve added one more run in the bottom of the 9th, when SS Jordy Mercer, Hague, and RF Miles Durham led off the inning with three consecutive singles to load the bases.� Watts’ sacrifice fly plated Mercer, but two ground outs ended the inning without any further scoring.� Bryan Morris pitched two perfect innings to wrap it up for the Curve.
The Curve have won the Eastern League’s Western Division title, and will begin the first round of playoffs on Wednesday.� None of the other playoff slots have been settled yet.� The Bowie Baysox and the Harrisburg Senators are tied for second place in the Western Division.� The Trenton Thunder are in first place in the Eastern Division, with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2.5 games behind, with 3 games left to play.
Tuesday’s action for the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers….
Altoona Curve� 9,� Bowie Baysox� 1 ..���� (box)
The Altoona Curve clinched the Eastern League’s Western Division title tonight with a win over Bowie.� This is just the second time the Curve have won their division in their 12 years of existence, and it follows a 2009 when the Curve spent the season in the cellar.
Six different Curve batters had 2 hits in the game, and 1B Matt Hague’s two hits were both home runs.� The batters provided plenty of run support for starter Rudy Owens, who won his 12th game of the season.� Owens pitched 6 scoreless innings, and struck out 9 Bowie batters.� Owens allowing 2 singles in the 1st inning but kept the Baysox scoreless thanks to an on-target throw in from RF Miles Durham to C Hector Gimenez, to tag out the lead runner at the plate.� Owens retired the next 11 batters in order, then gave up back-to-back singles in the 5th.� A strikeout ended that inning — he struck out 3 batters in the 5th, and two more in the 6th to finish up his night.
Derek Hankins earned his 7th save with 3 innings of work.� He gave up a lead-off homer to the first batter he faced in the 7th inning, and that was Bowie’s only run of the game.� Hankins loaded the bases with three singles following the homer, but got out of the inning with a strikeout.� He allowed only one more hit over the next two innings and struck out a total of 5 batters.
Meanwhile, the Curve batters were steadily stacking up the runs, scoring in 6 of their 9 at-bats.� Bowie held them off in the 1st inning, despite loading the bases on singles by 3B Josh Harrison and SS Jordy Mercer, and a walk to DH Andrew Lambo. Two strikeouts strikeouts ended the inning without a run scoring.� After that, the Curve took off.� Durham singled and CF Anthony Norman tripled for one run in the 2nd inning (1).� Hague was hit by a pitch, then singles by Gimenez and 2B Jim Negrych brought in 2 runs in the 3rd (3).� Hague homered for the first time, a solo shot, in the 5th (4).� Two more runs came in during the 6th.� Norman walked, and LF Jose De Los Santos reached on a fielding error.� Harrison doubled, plating Norman (5), and Mercer’s ground out brought in De Los Santos (6).� In the 7th, Negrych singled and scored on Norman’s double (7).� Hague homered again in the 8th inning, this time with Mercer on base with a single (9).
Three Curve position players have been named to participate in the Arizona Fall League:� OF Andrew Lambo, INF Josh Harrison, and INF Jordy Mercer will be with the Mesa Solar Sox.� Joining them will be C Tony Sanchez. (Each team is allowed one A-level player.)� The Pirates are also allowed three pitchers, though those assignments have not yet been determined.� The Arizona Fall League begins play in mid-October.