Bucs Minor League Notes

News, notes and quotes from the Pirates Minor League system.

Starter Ruddy Lugo as well as relievers Casey Fien and Robbie Weinhardt combined to allow just five hits in a shutout performance, while the one through three batters in the Toledo Mud Hens' lineup combined for 10 hits, five runs and five RBI to earn a 6-0 victory and gain the series sweep over the Indianapolis Indians on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field. With the loss the Indians fall to 2-4 on the season.

LET'S GO STREAKING: Indians 1B Steve Pearce has hit safely in all six of the team's contests so far this season. Pearce went 1-for-4 with a double on Tuesday night against Toledo. He has four multi-hit efforts in six games played this season and improve his team best batting average to .440 (11-for-25). That .440 mark is also the fifth best batting average in the International League. Pearce does however hold the top spot in the IL in hits with 11, while his five doubles are tied for first. OF Jose Tabata did not play on Tuesday night, but managed a 1-for-4 effort in Monday night's contest but saw his streak of three consecutive multi-hit games come to an end. The outfielder's eight hits on the season are tied for the fourth best total in the IL, while his two stolen bases place him in a tie for third in the league.

SAME FACE, NEW PLACE: After making his first professional baseball start in left field on Opening Night, long-time Indians' infielder Neil Walker again found himself playing an unfamiliar position on Sunday afternoon, this time at second base . Walker, who began his professional baseball career with the Pirates in 2004, has made 361 appearances at third base, 168 behind the plate, 110 as a designated hitter and one start in left field. The utility infielder started his professional career as catcher, but made the transition to third in 2007 with Double-A Altoona (Pa.).

A single through the left side of the infield by Josh Harrison scored Jordy Mercer from third in the bottom of the 14th inning to catapult the Curve to a, 1-0, win over Richmond on Tuesday night at Blair County Ballpark. It is the second 1-0, extra-inning win for the Curve on this homestand. Derek Hankins (1-0) pitched the final three innings of the game and picked up his first win of the 2010 season. Altoona (5-1) will once again head into the final game of a series on this homestand looking for a sweep as they meet Richmond (1-5) on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at BCB.

LEADING OFF: The past two nights have produced the two smallest crowds in Curve history at Blair County Ballpark. Tuesday's announced figure of 2,004 is the smallest, while Monday's was 2,065. The previous low was 2,071 on April 22 last year. The actual in-park attendance the past two nights appeared to be about 300-400. The Curve do not release the in-park number, only tickets sold.

PICK ME(RCER): After a day off on Sunday, Jordy Mercer picked right back up where he left off as he went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a pair of walks on Monday. He went 1-for-6 on Tuesday night. In five games, Mercer is hitting .350 with 3 RBI and one double.

CROTTA ON A ROLL: Mike Crotta was masterful in his second start of the 2010 campaign as he no-hit the Squirrels through the first 5.1 innings on Tuesday night, before Jackson Williams singled into center field to break up the no-hit bid. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. product allowed just the one hit in seven innings and struck out four. In his two starts so far, Crotta has tossed 13 innings and allowed one run on two hits with eight strikeouts. Eastern League hitters are 2-for-42 (.048) against Crotta.

Bradenton is off to a 5-0 start after posting a 7-4 win over Jupiter on Tuesday. Left fielder Quincy Latimore paced the Marauders attack going 3-for-5 with one home run and four RBI.

LATIMORE RED HOT: Latimore is off to a great start for Bradenton batting .467 with two home runs and seven RBI. He leads the Florida State League in batting, is second in home runs and RBI.

FARRELL POWER: Marauders third baseman Jeremy Farrell leads the Florida State League in home runs with three in five game and also paces the circuit in RBI with 12.

First baseman Luke Murton delivered the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, as the Charleston RiverDogs outlasted the West Virginia Power, 3-2, in South Atlantic League action Tuesday night in front of 2,577 fans at Riley Park. Charleston notched its second walkoff win of the homestand to improve to 3-3, while the Power fell to 2-4.

STILL STREAKING: Jarek Cunningham is the only Power player to have hit safely in each of the fi rst six games this season and leads the team with a .308 average. The Power infi elder is no stranger to streaks, amassing three hitting streaks of fi ve games or longer during the 2008 season, his fi rst in professional baseball. From August 1 through august 13, Cunningham hit safely in nine straight games for the Gulf Coast League Pirates. He also put together runs of fi ve and eight consecutive games with a hit that year. The Power second baseman missed the 2009 season due to an ACL injury.

KEEPING IT CLOSE: West Virginia's pitching staff ranks near the top of the South Atlantic League in several statistical categories, while the offense ranks near the bottom. The staff earned run average, despite the 2-4 record, is fourth at 3.22. The Power have allowed 27 runs (sixth fewest) and 18 earned runs (fourth fewest). Conversely, West Virginia batters are hitting a league-low .194, have the second fewest hits (38), and only two teams have scored less than the Power's 17 runs (Hagerstown (12) and Kannapolis (13)).

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