Orioles pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez had a strong outing today in the Arizona Fall League championship game. The 20-year-old left-hander from Valencia, Venezuela, pitched three shutout innings for Surprise against Mesa.
Rodriguez, who pitched this year at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, left with a 1-0 lead. Rodriguez gave up just two singles, one of which was erased on a caught stealing. He didn't walk a batter and fanned four.
He fanned the Nos. 3 and 4 Mesa hitters in the first inning, getting league MVP Kris Bryant followed by C. J. Cron. Rodriguez threw 42 pitches, 30 for strikes, showing a fastball at 92-93 mph and a sharp slider. Tyler Cravy of the Brewers organization came on to start the fourth.
After a very strong finish this season where he pitched to an ERA of 0.36 over his last four starts for Double-A Bowie, Rodriguez began today 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA in five AFL starts. In 14 2/3 innings, he had allowed 16 hits with six walks and 16 strikeouts.
The O's Henry Urrutia, who began today among the AFL leaders in slugging percentage (.551) and OPS (.985), smoked a double to center and scored in the second to give Surprise the 1-0 lead.
Saguaros are AFL champs: Surprise went on to post a 2-0 win and Rodriguez was winning pitcher of the championship game. Urrutia went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, while Jonathan Schoop went 1-for-3 and singled and scored in the eighth.
Tim Berry pitched a scoreless sixth inning, pitching out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam.
So O's players factored big today in Surprise's win as Urrutia and Schoop scored the only two runs, while Rodriguez and Berry combined for four shutout frames.
Congrats to Bowie skipper Gary Kendall, who managed the team, which featured eight O's prospects in all and short-season Single-A Aberdeen pitching coach Alan Mills, who was also among the coaches.
I've heard the team and staff will get championship rings for winning the AFL championship.