Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: 9th Inning Meltdown Leads to Indy Loss
By Marty Leap
In their season opener on Friday night, Triple-A Indianapolis blew a 9th inning lead in an 8-6 loss
After the Pittsburgh Pirates began their 2023 season with a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday afternoon, their minor league season kicked off on Friday night. Friday night's action saw the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians host the Omaha Storm Chases to kick off their season.
Leading the way for the Indians on Friday night was right-handed starting pitcher Luis Ortiz. In the last calendar year, Ortiz has risen to become one of the top pitching prospects in the Pirate farm system. Friday night, he pitched well in his 2023 debut.
Ortiz pitched 3.2 scoreless innings for Indianapolis. He allowed a hit, walked three batters, and struck out four. Ortiz 35 of his 58 pitches for strikes while retiring 11 of the 15 batters that he faced. John O'Reilly would follow Ortiz, getting the final out of the 4th inning.
Making a rehab appearance after starting the season on the injured list, Robert Stephenson pitched the 5th inning. Stephenson allowed a run on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts. Cody Bolton followed Stephenson and struggled, allowing 2 runs on four hits and a walk in 1.1 innings pitched.
Lefty Angel Perdomo relieved Bolton in the 7th inning with Indy leading 5-3. Perdomo struck out both batters he faced to end the inning, preserving the Indy lead.
Indy's lead came from a 5-run 1st inning. This lead was powered by a home run from Endy Rodriguez. Rodriguez, one of the two or three best catching prospects in baseball, launched a 2-run home run in the 1st inning.
This was the lone hit of the night for Rodriguez. Travis Swaggerty was 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored at the top of the lineup. Nick Gonzales was 2-for-5 with a double, Malcolm Nuñez was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, and Tucupita Marcano was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Mark Mathias also had a big night going 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Despite being handed a lead, the Indy bullpen would struggle in the final innings. Colin Selby, Yerry De Los Santos, and Cam Alldred teamed up to pitch the 8th and 9th innings. Selby allowed a run on a hit, three walks, and a strikeout in 2/3 of an inning pitched. De Los Santos also pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing 4 runs on four hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. Alldred walked a batter in 2/3 scoreless innings.