Pirates minor league affiliates went 2-2 on Sunday with promising development from Bubba Chandler in Greensboro, and continued lights-out hitting from Josiah Sightler in Bradenton.
Here are the notable performances.
Triple-A Indianapolis Indians (44-51)
OF Canaan Smith-Njigba
- Game: 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
- Season: Smith-Njigba began the 2023 season in Pittsburgh, but the Pirates sent him down to Indianapolis midway through April. There he’s slashing .254/.352/.474 with 17 doubles, a triple and nine home runs.
2B Alika Williams
- Game: 2-for-4 with three RBI.
- Season: .268/.346/.468 with 19 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs between Indianapolis and Tampa Bay’s Double-A affiliate.
Luis Ortiz suffered through another dismal start in Indy’s 9-4 loss to the Iowa Cubs. The young pitcher allowed four runs across five innings and struck out five batters. Indianapolis did their best to recover from an early 5-1 deficit, scoring three runs in the eighth inning, but the Cubs put them to bed with four more runs in the bottom of the frame.
Double-A Altoona Curve (42-44)
RHP Braxton Ashcraft
- Game: three perfect innings with four strikeouts.
- Season: 0-2 with a 2.27 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 43.2 innings pitched between Bradenton, Greensboro and Altoona.
LHP Omar Cruz
- Game: three innings pitched, two hits, two strikeouts and a walk.
- Season: 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Altoona managed just six baserunners and no extra base hits in their 1-0 win over the Reading Fightin Phils. Luckily for the Curve, three of those six baserunners came in one inning, so they managed to scrape the decisive run across. Oliver Garcia walked the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth, but pulled a Houdini to escape with the save.
High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers (44-43)
RHP Bubba Chandler
- Game: five innings pitched, one hit and one walk with six strikeouts.
- Season: 5-3 with a 5.79 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 73 innings.
LF Luke Brown
- Game: 2-for-3 with two doubles and two walks.
- Season: .207/.357/.380 with eight doubles, a triple and two home runs in 35 games.
The Grasshoppers knocked around the Wilmington Blue Rocks 8-1. Bubba Chandler pitched lights out for the second straight start, putting together the beginning of an excellent second half turn around. Right fielder Will Matthiessen hit a solo homer, and the Grasshoppers scored four runs apiece in first and fifth inning rallies.
Single-A Bradenton Marauders (51-38)
3B Yordany De Los Santos
- Game: 2-for-3 with a homer, a double, a walk and three RBI.
- Season: .289/.357/.439 with nine doubles, one triple and two home runs in 31 games between rookie ball and Single-A.
1B Josiah Sightler
- Game: 3-for-4 with a homer, a walk and two RBI.
- Season: .442/.514/.756 with six doubles and seven homers in 24 games between Bradenton and rookie ball.
A blown save turned into a full on meltdown as Bradenton surrendered a 7-3 lead after an eight-run ninth inning from the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. Josiah Sightler continued his red-hot hitting, but the Marauders couldn’t regroup in time to salvage the game in an 11-7 loss.