Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with a double header sweep in the Gulf Coast League, making up for yesterday’s rain out:
GCL Pirates 3, GCL Blue Jays 2 (Game 1)
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Luis Heredia pitched 3 scoreless innings to begin this game, facing only one batter over the minimum. After retiring the side in order in the 1st, Heredia hit a batter in the 2nd inning but promptly erased that runner with a double play. He walked a batter with two outs in the 3rd, but C Ryan Hornback threw that runner out trying to steal second base.
The Pirates scored their first run in the 1st inning. CF Junior Sosa singled and stole second base, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. 1B Jose Osuna’s RBI single plated Sosa. LF Ping-Hung Chi led off the 3rd inning with a walk, and Sosa bunted him to second. A ground out moved Chi to third, and he scored on DH Gregory Polanco’s line drive single into right field.
David Jagoditsh relieved Heredia to begin the 4th. He pitched a scoreless 4th, then gave up the Jay’s first run in the 5th, on a single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single. The Pirates got the run right back in the bottom of the inning. 3B Francisco Aponte walked, and both Polanco and Osuna singled, to load the bases. Aponte scored on Hornback’s ground out to third. RF Gavi Nivar also grounded to third, but the fielder’s choice had Polanco out at the plate. The Pirates were up 3-1.
Jagoditsh began the top of the 6th with two outs, and then was relieved by Miguel Mendez. The first batter Mendez faced smacked a home run, to make the score 3-2. Mendez walked the lead-off batter in the 7th, but Hornback threw him out trying to steal second, and Mendez struck out the next two batters to end the game. Jagoditsh earned his first win of the season, and Mendez earned his first Save.
GCL Pirates 1, GCL Blue Jays 0 (Game 2)
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Orlando Castro earned his first win for the Pirates with 6 scoreless innings of work. He allowed 6 hits, no walks, and struck out 2 batters. In both the 2nd and 3rd innings, the first two Jays’ batters hit back-to-back singles, but both times, Castro got an out (strikeout, and tag out at third), then induced an inning-ending double play. Castro also gave up singles in the 4th and 6th inning, but left both those runners on base.
The Pirates were also scoreless over their first 6 innings, held to just 3 hits, and falling victim to 7 strikeouts. 2B Jodaneli Carvajal singled in the 1st inning, but was out in a double play. DH Jose Osuna led off the 3rd inning with a single up the middle, and was left on base. Osuna singled again in the 5th, and was again left stranded. The top of the 7th began with 3B Yhonathan Barrios working a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a sacrifice bunt by C Jon Schwind. RF Gregory Polanco drove Barrios in with a line drive into right field, and that was the only run of the game.
Joseph Parsons replaced Castro on the mound for the 9th inning and pitched a perfect inning to earn his second Save.
Wednesday’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor leaguers:
The West Virginia Power have a day off today, wrapping up their All-Star break. The Altoona Curve and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats had their game postponed tonight, due to rain. They will try for a double header tomorrow, beginning at 6:05 pm.
Jordy Mercer was named the Eastern League’s Player of the Week for last week. Mercer had an RBI in each of six games he played in last week, with a total of 9 RBI. He hit 3 doubles and 2 homers last week, and earned a .381 average for the week. Mercer is hitting .267 overall for the season, with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 48 RBI.
The Pirates have signed two more draft picks: LHP Josh Poytress (18th round) and RHP David Jagoditsch (32nd round). Both were college pitchers, and could be assigned to State College. The list of all of the Pirates’ draft picks, including who has signed, is here.
Bradenton Marauders 5, Jupiter Hammerheads 4
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The Marauders wrapped up the first half of the Florida State League season with an early afternoon win over Jupiter. Brett Sinkbeil pitched 6 innings for Bradenton and allowed one run on two hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer to lead off the top of the 3rd. He allowed a single to begin the 2nd inning but erased the runner with a double play. The walks came in the 5th and 6th inning; one of those runners was left on base and the other was thrown out by C Carlos Paulino as he tried to steal second base.
The Marauders also began their scoring with a solo home run — by 1B Aaron Baker to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. SS Kelson Brown began the bottom of the 3rd with a triple into center field. After a walk by RF Robbie Grossman, 2B Jarek Cunningham grounded a high chopper to third, which forced out Grossman at second but allowed Brown to score. Cunningham stole second base, then both DH David Rubinstein and Baker worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. 3B Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought in Cunningham and CF Evan Chambers’ line drive back through the box brought in Rubinstein, giving the Marauders a 4-1 lead.
The Marauders added an unearned run in the 5th. With two outs, Elevys Gonzalez walked and stole second base. Chambers grounded to short, but a throwing error by the Jupiter shortstop let Chambers reach safely and let Gonzalez score. Paulino also had two singles in the game, in the 2nd and 6th innings, but did not score.
Jason Erickson relieved Sinkbeil to begin the 7th inning. The lead-off batter smacked a ground-rule double, but the next three batters flied out, and the runner did not leave second base. Erickson began the 8th inning with a ground out and a solo homer, then had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Brown. Ryan Beckman came on in relief, but he gave up a single and another ground-rule double, driving in a run. The third run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out, to bring Jupiter within a run of the Marauders, 5-4. Beckman got a strikeout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the 9th, to hold on to the win. Beckman earned his 5th Save, and Sinkbeil earned his first win of the season.
The Pirates have signed their 4th round draft pick, Colten Brewer. Brewer is a right-handed pitcher who was drafted out of high school in Canton. He will likely report to the GCL Pirates to begin his pro career. All of the Pirates’ draft picks, and the ones who have signed, are listed here.
GCL Pirates 10, GCL Blue Jays 7
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Sixteen-year-old Luis Heredia made his pro debut this afternoon, with a start for the GCL Pirates. Heredia made a good showing. He had a batter reach base on a fielding error by SS Alen Hanson in the 1st, but he retired the other three batters in that inning. He gave up a walk in the 2nd, but again retired the other three batters he faced. Heredia had some trouble in the 3rd, when he allowed 2 runs. He began the inning with two ground outs, then hit a batter with a pitch. That runner stole both second and third bases, then Heredia walked the next two batters to load the bases. A single lined into left field brought in two runs. Heredia was relieved by Robert Kilcrease, who finished the inning with a ground out.
Kilcrease gave up another 2 runs in the 4th. Back-to-back singles with one out and a walk loaded the bases with Jays. A sacrifice fly brought in one run, then an RBI single brought in the second, giving the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead.
The Pirates were relatively quiet over the first 3 innings, but they broke out in the bottom of the 4th. With one out, 3B Yhonathan Barrios beat out a bunt for a hit, then moved to second and on to third on two wild pitches. He scored on LF Jose Osuna’s RBI single. 1B Jared Lakind walked, then DH Jon Schwind doubled in Osuna. C Joey Schoenfeld tapped back to the mound, where the Jays’ pitcher tried for a fielder’s choice — but failed, allowing Lakind to score, and leaving Pirate runners on the corners. Hansen’s 3-run homer brought in Schwind and Schoenfeld, giving the Pirates a 6-4 lead.
The Blue Jays also homered in the top of the 5th, but it was a solo shot off Pirates’ reliever Diomedes Mateo. In the bottom of the 5th, RF Gregory Polanco walked and stole second base, then scored on Barrios’ triple lined into right field. Pirates ahead, 7-5. Mateo also gave up 2 more runs in the top of the 6th. A single, a hit batter, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third bases. A fielding error by Barrios allowed both runners to cross the plate, tying the score at 7-7.
The Pirates went down in order in the 6th and 7th innings. Mateo gave up a single in the top of the 7th, but erased that runner with a double play. He also allowed a walk in the 7th, and a single in the 8th. Then the Pirates broke the tie in the bottom of the 8th. Osuna walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Junior Sosa. Lakind’s sacrifice bunt put Sosa on second, but Lakind was also safe at first. Schwind also bunted, and was safe at first to load the bases. Schoenfeld’s single brought in Sosa, then Hanson’s double lined into left scored both Lakind and Schwind. That gave the Pirates a 10-7 lead. 2B Jodaneli Carvajal was hit by a pitch, loading the bases again for the Pirates. Schoenfeld tried for the steal of home but didn’t make it, and that was the first out of the inning. A strikeout and a ground out ended the frame, but the Pirates had the lead.
Joe Parsons relieved Mateo on the mound to begin the top of the 9th. He loaded the bases with two outs, on a hit batter, a walk, and a single. Parsons got a pop out to end the game, and the Pirates had the win.
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.