Grapefruit League Game 1: Tampa Bay Rays 6, Pittsburgh Pirates 3

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates began Grapefruit League play with a loss on Friday afternoon

The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 0-1 in Grapefruit League play. On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 in both team’s Grapefruit League opener.

Right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Eppler made the start for the Pirates on Friday. After allowing a single to start the game, Eppler retired the next six batter he faced. This included three strikeouts.

Fellow prospect Alex McRae followed Eppler and struggled in his lone inning of work. He allowed four runs on four hits in the third inning. Casey Sadler then recorded a scoreless fourth inning, which included a strikeout.

2015 Pirate Minor League Pitcher of the Year Yeudy Garcia also saw action on Friday. Despite allowing a single and hitting a batter to start the bottom of the seventh inning, he got a pop up and a double play to clean things up.

The Pirate offense was led by top hitting prospect Austin Meadows who hit a pair of doubles, a single, drew a walk, and drove in all three Pirate runs. This was great to see from Meadows who battled injuries throughout the 2017 season.

“Austin had a nice day. It was good for him,” Pirate manager Clint Hurdle told reporters after the game. “Three barrels. Drove in some runs. Swung the bat well. He looked good.”

New third baseman Colin Moran was 1-for-3 in his Pirate spring debut. Adam Frazier and Josh Bell both went 0-for-2, however, Frazier drew a walk. Other notables included Jordan Luplow going 1-for-2, and Max Moroff and Kevin Newman both going 0-for-2 while splitting time at shortstop.

Next: Pirates bolster OF by adding Corey Dickerson

Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates is 1:05 tilt with the New York Yankees on Saturday at LECOM Park back in Bradenton. Saturday afternoon’s game will be the Grapefruit League home opener for the Pirates.