photo: Jordan Hicks (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Wednesday, November 15th.
Jordan Hicks’ solid first start was not enough as Surprise (12-17) fell to Mesa, 5-2. The defeat eliminated the Saguaros from the Arizona Fall League Championship game and clinched the East division title for their opponents.
Making his first start after eight relief appearances, Hicks went three frames. The right-hander sent the Solar Sox down in order on two ground outs sandwiched around a swinging K the first time around.
The Texan wiped out a lead-off single the next frame with a force at second but yielded an unearned tally when Surprise’s left fielder could not handle what was scored a single and fielding error that allowed the runner on first to cross the plate. Hicks retired his last five batters faced on two groundball outs, two fly ball outs and a caught looking.
According to TrackMan data reported by MLB.com, Hicks’ fastball velocity topped out at an eye-popping 102.6 mph. 29 of his 43 pitches went for strikes.
The St. Louis pitching prospect left the contest with his team up, 2-1, thanks to single scores in the first and third. Oscar Mercado’s fifth double of the fall campaign and second in two days drove in lead-off batter Nicky Lopez (KC), who opened the first with a single. Little did they realize that the Surprise offense would get just one more hit the rest of the game.
Surprise’s second and final tally was generated after Mercado worked a free pass with two gone in the third. A single advanced the number two hitter one base and the center fielder scored when John Nogowski reached via a fielding error by Mesa’s shortstop.
That slim advantage held up until the Solar Sox’ two-run sixth. Mesa added single tallies in the eighth and ninth to cement their victory. Tampa Bay righty Roel Ramirez suffered his first blown save and first loss, recording just two outs while yielding two hits and a base-on-balls.
As previously mentioned, Mercado was one of three Saguaros garnering one hit. The center fielder singled once in three at bats while recording his 11th RBI and 14th walk. Nogowski was hitless in four at bats including two strikeouts as the clean-up hitter and first baseman. The two and Hicks were the only Cardinals to participate in Surprise’s second to last contest of the 2017 AFL campaign.
Thursday’s game: at Mesa (16-12), 12:35 pm MST, Tyler Davis (1-0, 5.40) (TX)
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