Thursday, Nov. 2, The Salt River Rafters traveled to Scottsdale to face the Scorpions. Pittsburgh Pirates prospects Jase Bowen (RF) and Jack Brannigan (SS) were in Salt River’s starting lineup.
In addition, RHP Cameron Junker appeared in relief for Salt River.
It was a tightly played contest on Thursday. Salt River came back from down 2-0 in the fifth inning thanks to a two-run homer and a sac-fly taking a 3-2 lead.
Scottsdale tied it back up in the seventh inning after an Israel Pineda RBI single in the seventh. Salt River would not be denied, though, as they hit a solo homer in the eighth inning, giving them a 4-3 lead.
In addition, Salt River added an insurance run in the ninth inning, which allowed them to win 5-3. Salt River is now 14-13 and stands only 2.5 games back of first place.
Bowen struggled throughout most of the game, but he showed up when it mattered most. With the game tied in the eighth inning, Bowen led off.
In a 1-0 count, Bowen was served a juicy ball down the middle, and he made Scottsdale pay, but not in the most traditional way. Bowen scored on an inside-the-park-home run, which gave Salt River their permanent lead.
In addition, that was Bowen’s fourth home run of the Arizona Fall League. Bowen finished the night going 1-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Notre Dame product turned Pittsburgh Pirates prospect had a similar fate to Bowen’s on Thursday night. Brannigan managed only one hit, but it was the biggest hit for Salt River then.
With the team down 2-1 in the fifth inning, Brannigan came to the plate with a runner on first. In a 1-0 count, Brannigan received a pitch in the top right corner of the strike zone, and he went with the pitch.
It was a brilliant display of hitting, which gave Brannigan his third home run of the AFL season, and it gave Salt River a 3-2 lead. In addition, Brannigan went 1-4 with two RBIs, a run scored, and two strikeouts.
A little ditty ‘bout Jack Brannigan 🎶
— MLB's Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) November 3, 2023
The Pirates prospect came into the game during the sixth inning. Junker recorded two straight outs in as many batters, but then he faced unfortunate luck afterward.
After a two-out walk, he got a grounder to third baseman Ivan Melendez, but thanks to a throwing error, the inning had to continue.
The righty then loaded the bases with his second walk and was pulled in favor of Jake Rice. Rice picked picked his teammate up with a flyout to left field, ending the inning.
His final line read 0.2 innings pitched, no runs, no hits, two walks, and no strikeouts.