ARIZONA—The MLB may have been using Saturday’s nationally-televised Arizona Fall League game to test the effects of a pitch clock, but nothing could have stopped the 11-10 slugfest between the Peoria Javelinas and the Surprise Saguaros from filling a good three and a half hours. Peoria’s fifteenth win puts them in pole position to represent the Western Division in next Saturday’s Championship Game, while Surprise’s loss buries them just a bit more. The Mesa Solar Sox currently lead the Eastern Division.
Powerhouse Peoria got out the gate early, putting up four in the second off Tyler Davis and two in the third off Matt Tenuta while Braves lefty Max Fried eased through three shutout frames. Atlanta über-prospect Ronald Acuña accounted for three of them with a pair of homers. San Diego’s Luis Urías drove home two on a single. The relief combination of Jerry Keel, Corbin Clouse, and Josh Graham allowed the Saguaros to storm back in the middle innings, scoring a crooked seven in the fourth and three more in the fifth to take a 10-6 lead. The first onslaught began with a two-out one on double by the Kinston Woodie Yanio Pérez and was kept alive by a two-RBI single from Chris Paul and a bases-loaded walk to Nick Dini. The coup de grâce was a grand slam by one-time Burlington Royals sparkplug Nicky Lopez. Paul tacked on two with a triple in the fifth.
Peoria shocked Surprise in the eighth with four off Jacob Bodner to knot it up at 10. The Toronto organization struck for a quick two, Lourdes Gurriel doubling and scoring on a dinger by Jonathan Davis. Bodner and Andrew Vasquez quickly lost the plate, runs coming in on a bases-loaded walk and a hit batter. The Javelinas prevented extras with a rally ignited by a leadoff double from Urías, and Seattle’s Art Warren took the win with an impressive two innings peppered with five strikeouts.
Twins outfield prospect LaMonte Wade left the game in the second after colliding with centerfielder Oscar Mercado. Wade was taken to a local hospital and diagnosed with a concussion. The ex-Hopper Josh Naylor notched another two hits, one of them a double. 18-year-old Andrés Muñoz of the Padres organization tossed a strong seventh, several times hitting triple digits.