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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

AFL Recap: Ninth Inning Comeback Falls Short for Saguaros

The Surprise Saguaros were eliminated from the Arizona Fall League playoff race on Wednesday. With six games left in the season, they took on first place Peoria on Friday night. Bryan Reynolds and Will Craig were in the lineup, and Matt Eckelman pitched out of the bullpen, as the Saguaros lost 4-2.

Reynolds was in right field for this game, after spending all of his previous time on defense in left field this fall. He popped out to first base in his first at-bat, then was called out on strikes during his next at-bat. Reynolds couldn’t come through during a big at-bat in the sixth inning. With two outs, the bases loaded and a 0-0 score, he struck out swinging to end the inning. He singled and scored Surprise’s first run in the ninth. He’s hitting .178 through 14 games, with a double, triple, no homers and a .577 OPS.

Will Craig served as the DH on Friday night. He was batting seventh and struck out to start the third inning, after Surprise went down in order during each of the first two innings. He flew out to center field in the fifth. Craig grounded out to shortstop to end the seventh. He hit an RBI single in the ninth to make it a 4-2 score, but the next batter struck out to end the game. Craig is batting .262 through 17 games, with three doubles, four homers and nine RBIs.

Here’s a video of Will Craig taking BP today:

Matt Eckelman pitched the seventh inning and issued a full count walk to the first batter he faced. That was followed five pitches later by a second walk. A ground out to second base put two runners in scoring position with one out. One pitch later, Eckelman got out of the inning on a 4-3-6 double play, with the second out occurring at third base. He threw 16 pitches, with seventh going for strikes. This was his second straight scoreless appearance, after allowing runs in each of his first six games.

Surprise plays Peoria at home on Saturday afternoon, with a 2:35 PM EST start time.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.


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