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Cannonballs Coming: Tyler Eppler scuffles in AA debut

Extended comments on Altoona at the bottom.

-- Indianapolis beat Columbus, 6-3.  Josh Bell was 2-2 with a walk, raising his AAA average to .355.  Gorkys Hernandez went 2-3, and Dan Gamache and Gustavo Nunez each 2-4.  Willy Garcia was 1-3 with a triple and John Bowker hit his sixth HR.  Alen Hanson was 0-3.  Wilfredo Boscan gave up three runs on nine hits in six and a third innings.

-- Bradenton beat St. Lucie, 4-2, as Austin Meadows' replacement, organizational outfielder Junior Sosa (pictured), hit two HRs, his first since 2012, while going 3-4 with three RBIs.  Harold Ramirez was 2-4 with a double and Chris Diaz 2-3.  Luis Heredia allowed no runs on three hits over five and two-thirds innings.  The start wasn't entirely encouraging, though, as he walked four.  Heredia struck out three.

-- West Virginia lost to Kannapolis, 10-6.  Tyler Filliben went 3-4 and Kevin Kramer 2-4.  Colten Brewer gave up six runs, five earned, over seven innings.  Kevin Newman left the game an inning after getting hit by a pitch.

-- Morgantown squeaked by Williamsport, 2-1.  Dario Agrazal gave up one run on six hits in six innings.  Stephan Meyer followed with three scoreless innings of relief.  Each pitcher walked none and fanned four.  Mitchell Tolman, Christian Kelley, Daniel Arribas and Ryan Nagle each had two hits.  Ke'Bryan Hayes was 1-1 with a walk.

-- Altoona lost to Bowie, 6-3.  Tyler Eppler, making his AA debut, got hit with a five-run 3rd inning and gave up six runs overall in five and a third innings.  Eppler allowed four hits and three walks, and fanned three.

Eppler started well enough, getting six straight in the first two innings, although a couple balls were hit hard.  In the 3rd, things came unglued as Eppler struggled to locate his pitches.  He walked two in the inning and fell behind others, leading to pitches out over the plate.  Two runs scored on two walks and two singles, and then Eppler got a fastball out over the plate to former Pirate prospect Quincy Latimore, who unloaded a three-run HR.  Eppler was charged with six runs overall on four hits and three walks, with three strikeouts.

Most of Altoona's offense came from Jacob Stallings, who had an RBI double and his third HR.  The Curve had only three singles otherwise.  Some comments on individual players:

Eppler:  It's a good idea to keep in mind that Eppler was drafted not much over a year ago and missed the first ten weeks of this season, yet here he is in AA.  He skipped over low A and didn't make his season debut until mid-June due to elbow soreness.  His fastball was 94-96 in his first two innings, but dropped down to 91-93 from about the 4th inning on.  Eppler threw a lot of mid- to upper-80s sliders, but usually bounced them and the hitters didn't chase.  He threw only a couple changeups.  His command wasn't strong, and largely deserted him in the 3rd inning.  He fell behind a number of times and then got too much of the plate.

Montana DuRapau:  He also made his AA debut, throwing a scoreless 8th with two strikeouts.  He throws with a good deal of effort.  His first couple fastballs were 95 mph, but he threw mostly 91-93 after that.  He also threw a lot of sliders.  DuRapau's control wasn't good, leading to full counts on the first two hitters.

Austin Meadows:  Didn't get good swings in three ABs against a soft-tossing lefty starter or one against a righty reliever.  Popped out three times and struck out.

Barrett Barnes:  Had a couple hard hit outs, the only balls I've seen him hit well over several games in the last couple weeks.  Bowie for some reason is loaded with sidearm throwers (including a couple of their relievers tonight) and Barnes has struggled with them.

Adam Frazier:  Apart from a bunt, Frazier hit three balls hard but got just a single out of it.