All four of the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league affiliates were in action Sunday. Three of the teams lost while only walked away with a win.
The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, took on the Toledo Mudhens once again. The Indians took the first two games against the Mudhens, but dropped the game on Saturday. Well, the Indians also dropped Sunday nights’ game as well. The Indians received a poor pitching effort, giving up nine runs in the game.
Starting the game was Pittsburgh Pirates top 30 prospect Clay Holmes. Holmes only made it through four innings, getting tagged for four runs on seven hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. Following Holmes was lefty Cody Dickson. Dickson pitched pretty well, throwing two innings, striking out and walking one each. Furthermore, Dickson did not give up any runs. The game really got blown open when the Indians brought in potential Pittsburgh Pirates reliever AJ Schugel. Schugel got knocked around for four runs on four hits and two walks in 1.1 innings. Also, Edgar Santana gave up another run to give the Mudhens a total of nine runs for the game.
On the offensive side, the Indians scored five runs. Austin Meadows broke out of his early-season hitless drought by going 1-3 with a double. In addition to his double, Meadows also walked once and scored two runs. Gift Ngoepe kept his hot bat going as he collected two hits in four at-bats, both being doubles. Eric Wood and Danny Ortiz each had two RBIs, even though there was only one hit between the two of them. The Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate dropped the game 9-5.
The Altoona Curve played their fourth game against the Harrisburg Senators. Like the Indians, the Curve dropped the game and are now 2-2 on the season. Starting for the Curve was 2015 sixth-round pick J.T. Brubaker. Brubaker surrendered four runs on eight hits and four walks in 5.1 innings. Additionally, the Senators tacked on two more runs later off John Kuchno in his two innings of work. Left handed reliever Jared Lakind threw 1.2 innings of scoreless ball between the other two pitchers. Offensively the Curve only scored two runs. Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 first round pick Kevin Newman scored on of those runs and he was 1-4 on the game. Second baseman Kevin Kramer was 1-3 in the game. Meanwhile, Jordan Luplow was the best offensive performer going 2-4 with a double and driving in both Curve runs.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates High-A affiliate had a nice all-around game on Sunday. They shutout the Charlotte Stone Crabs and improved to 4-0. Taylor Hearn started for High-A, going 5.2 innings and obviously did not allow a run. Furthermore, he struck out five batters, but he did walk three. Still, it was an encouraging first start of the year for the rising prospect. He was the second piece that the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired in the Mark Melancon deal last summer. He was followed by a couple of 2015 draft picks in Logan Sendelbach and Seth McGary. Cole Tucker batted lead off for the Marauders going 2-4 with a run scored. Rum Bunter top 30 prospect Kevin Krause started in right field, and he went 2-3 with a solo home run in the second inning and fourth inning. Left fielder Logan Hill also had a good game, getting two hits including a triple and a home run. Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 first round pick Will Craig went 0-4 for the day.
The West Virginia Power’s offensive woes continued as they lost in extra innings Sunday. The Power dropped the game by a score of 2-1 in eleven innings to the Rome Braves. Although the Power struggled offensively, they did get some really impressive pitching. Top 20 Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Luis Escobar shines in his first taste of full-season baseball. Escobar pitched five innings and gave up one run. However, even more impressive was that he struck out 12 hitters in those five innings and only walked one batter. The Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 17th round pick Matt Frawley followed Escobar up with three innings of scoreless ball, and he struck out five more hitters. The last pitcher to throw was 2016 8th round pick Dylan Prohoroff, who struck out three more hitters in three innings of work, but also gave up the go-ahead run in the eleventh. The Power pitchers combined for 20 total strikeouts.
Offensively there is not much to talk about. Although, left fielder Victor Fernandez went 1-3, swiped two bases, and scored a run. Albert Baur knocked in Fernandez, and on the day he was 2-5. Fernandez is a potential breakout prospect to watch at Low-A. The Power’s offense needs to get going as they have been given solid pitching so far. They are now 0-4 on the year.