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Pirates Prospect Watch: Samaniego Picks Up First AFL Win



Pittsburgh Pirates-Tyler Samaniego

The Salt River Rafters headed to Glendale Wednesday night to face the Desert Dogs. Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jack Brannigan was the lone position player to represent the Pirates. 

In addition, RHP J.C. Flowers and LHP Tyler Samaniego pitched in relief for the Rafters. 

Heading into Wednesday’s matchup with the Desert Dogs, Salt River was riding a six-game losing streak. Wednesday night, Salt River broke the streak and pulled off a 7-2 win over Glendale. 

Pitching played a big factor in Salt River’s win, but you can’t discount a six-run eighth inning by the offense. In addition, Samaniego picked up his first win in the Arizona Fall League. 


Progress can be a slow process, but Branigan showed some Wednesday night. I think now we are all aware of Brannigan’s strikeout issues. 

Wednesday night, Brannigan avoided striking out but failed to get a hit in two official at-bats. The Notre Dame product, however, drew a walk, got hit by a pitch, and stole his fourth base of the AFL season. 

The righty stole third base in the third inning after taking second base due to a wild pitch. In addition, there was only one out in the inning, but Salt River failed to bring him home. 

Brannigan’s walk in the seventh inning was a drawn-out at-bat. The seventh pitch barely missed the bottom of the zone. For a guy with 23 strikeouts, Brannigan showed a good eye at the plate in that at-bat.


Flowers entered the game in the fourth inning after Salt River’s starter pitched three shutout innings. 

The Florida State alum started the fourth inning with a popup to the shortstop but got into some deep water afterward. Flowers allowed a one-out double and then walked the bases loaded. 

The righty settled down and got Yeiner Fernandez to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. The game was still knotted up at 0-0 at the time. 

Flowers lasted just one inning and threw 22 pitches (12 strikes). 


Pittsburgh Pirates LHP Samaniego was called on to clean up the seventh inning after Tanner Kohlhepp allowed two runs on three hits and two walks. 

Samaniego needed just four pitches to get the one batter to end the inning with the bases loaded. Samaniego pitched the eighth inning a little more relaxed thanks to a six-run eighth inning.

Samaniego struck out the first two batters to start the eighth inning and got an inning-ending groundout to shortstop Brannigan. 

In addition, Samaniego pitched 1.1 perfect innings with two strikeouts.

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