Pittsburgh Pirates Grapefruit League: Pitching Shines in Tie With the Baltimore Orioles

Mar 2, 2023; Bradenton, Florida, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. (56)
Mar 2, 2023; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. (56) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night the Pittsburgh Pirates played the Baltimore Orioles to a 1-1 tie in the first night game of their Grapefruit League schedule

The Pittsburgh Pirates now have six Grapefruit League games under their belt. Their latest game was a Friday night trip to Sarasota that resulted in a 1-1 tie with the Baltimore Orioles. With the tie, the Pirates are now 1-4-2 in Grapefruit League play.

Offseason free agent addition Vince Velasquez started for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Velasquez pitched well in his first start of Grapefruit League action. He allowed a run on a hit, a pair of walks, and a strikeout in 2 innings pitched. This came after he struck out a pair in 2 scoreless innings of work in a simualted game last weekend.

Ji-Hwan Bae started at second base and bat lead off for the Pirates. After singling to start the game, Bae stole second base and came around to score on a Jack Suwinski single. Carlos Santana also had a base hit in the 1st inning.

David Bednar followed Velasquez, striking out a pair, the second of which came via a pitch clock violation, in a 1-2-3 inning. Bednar continues to bounce back after allowing two home runs in his first Grapefruit League outing last Saturday. After Bednar, a litany of Pirate prospects would toe the rubber.

2020 draft class member Carmen Mlodzinski followed Bednar. The righty walked a batter and struck a batter out in 2 scoreless, hitless innings pitched. 2019 first-round pick Quinn Priester took the ball in the 6th inning. The highly touted pitching prospect allowed a hit and walked a batter, but still pitched a scoreless inning.

Nathan Webb pitched a scoreless 7th inning, allowing two hits and striking a batter out. The non-roster invitee is an intriguing arm as he has the ability to hit triple digits with his fastball. Webb could be a pitcher to keep an eye on in the minor leagues this season.

Cody Bolton and We-Chieh Huang would pitch the 8th and 9th innings. Both pitchers posted zeroes. Bolton struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 inning, Huang struck a batter out while allowing a hit in a scoreless 9th inning.

For as well as the Pirate pitched, their offense struggled. The only hit the Pirates recorded after the 1st inning was a Chris Owings double. Suwinski also drew a walk, and that was it for Pirate base runners.

Owings entered camp as a non-roster invitee competing for a roster spot. The veteran utility infielder will have a legitimate shot to crack the Opening Day roster, and is off to a strong start. Through the first week of Grapefruit League action Owings has a .500 on-base percentage and a .900 OPS.

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