AFL Recap: Two Hits Each for Cole Tucker and Will Craig

It was a busy day for Pittsburgh Pirates in the Arizona Fall League on Saturday. All three hitters were in the lineup and two of the three relievers made an appearance. The Surprise Saguaros were already eliminated from the playoffs before today, then they took on first place Peoria and lost 7-4.

Cole Tucker doubled to lead-off the game, then scored four batters later on a sacrifice fly (see below). It was his fourth double of the fall. Tucker struck out swinging in the second inning, then flew out to left field to end the fourth inning. He singled on a grounder to right field to lead-off the seventh, then grounded out to second base in the eighth. Tucker is now hitting .370/.435/.452 through 17 games. This was his fourth straight multi-hit game.

Here’s video of the double:

Bryan Reynolds walked in the first inning to load the bases. He struck out swinging in the third, then grounded out to first base in the fifth. He struck out swinging again in the seventh, then grounded out to shortstop in the ninth. Reynolds finished 0-for-4, giving him a .163/.323/.224 slash line through 14 games.

Will Craig hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning to score Cole Tucker and make it a 1-0 game. He missed a grand slam by a few feet on the sacrifice fly (see video below). He flew out to right field in the third inning, then flew out to left field in the fifth. Craig singled on a hard grounder (called a “scorcher” by an eyewitness) to third base in the eighth. He would score three batters later on a home run. Craig drove in another run in the ninth with a hard grounder up the middle, finishing his day 2-for-4 with two RBIs. He is hitting .275/.338/.493 through 18 games.

Blake Weiman was due for a bad game this AFL season. Offense has been slightly above average in the league this year and he had allowed just one run over 11 innings before Saturday. Weiman had an off-day, though someone at the game told me that the umpire had a very inconsistent strike zone. That might explain the two walks, which is one more than he allowed in his previous six games. During the regular season, he issued nine walks in 67 innings. In addition to the walks, Weiman also gave up two hits and two runs before being removed with two outs.

Geoff Hartlieb had a rough outing and let the game get out of hand late. He gave up a double, walk and two singles to the first four batters he faced. Three of those runners would score, though he did settle down and pick up two strikeouts and a ground out to end the inning. Hartlieb now has a 7.30 ERA in 12.1 innings, with 12 strikeouts.

Surprise has off on Sunday. They return to action on Monday for the first of four remaining games on the schedule. The Saguaros will be in Scottsdale for a 2:35 PM EST start time.