INDIANS BLITZ BATS EARLY, ROLL TO 11-7 WIN
INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Owings capped a five-run first inning with a three-run homer, and Josh Palacios and Aaron Shackelford tacked on solo home runs for good measure as the Indianapolis Indians blasted their way to an 11-7 win over the Louisville Bats on Tuesday night at Victory Field.
The Indians (45-51, 12-10) wasted little time in doing damage against right-hander Michael Mariot (L, 4-2), sending eight batters to the dish in the opening frame. After Ke’Bryan Hayes and Palacios worked one-out walks, Miguel Andújar – who entered the contest third in batting among International League qualifiers – roped a run-scoring single into left-center. Canaan Smith-Njigba followed with an RBI double high off the left-field wall ahead of Owings’ ninth blast of the season.
After the Bats (51-44, 11-11) scored their first run in the top of the third on an Alejo López two-out infield single, Indy responded with three runs in the bottom half to knock Mariot out of the game. Ryan Vilade rocked a run-scoring double into the left-field corner to bring home Palacios, and Shackelford added a two-out, two-run single to push the lead to 8-1.
Louisville chipped away at its deficit over the next four innings to tighten the score. Palacios’ seventh Triple-A blast countered a solo home run off the bat of Nick Martini and two-run shot by Jose Barrero in the fourth. The Bats crept within slam range again in the sixth on a two-out RBI double by Chuckie Robinson and pulled within two in the seventh on RBI groundouts by Martini and Noelvi Marte that followed three consecutive walks issued by Colin Selby.
Leading 9-7 at the stretch, Shackelford clubbed his team-leading 13th home run off a light pole beyond the right-field wall. The Indians manufactured another insurance run thanks to heads-up play by Jason Delay who singled, advanced to second base on a foul out, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Vinny Capra infield single to second.
The Bats’ first two hitters reached safely in the ninth, but Hunter Stratton struck out Marte and induced a game-ending double play to seal the win.
Cam Alldred (W, 6-3) took over for Cody Bolton in the second and yielded four earned runs on seven hits in 4.0 innings of relief.
Palacios reached base safely a game-high four times, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two walks and three runs. Vilade, Shackelford and Delay also recorded two-hit performances.
The Indians and Bats continue their series on Wednesday at 1:35 PM ET. RHP Kyle Nicolas (0-2, 10.31) is slated to start for Indy against RHP Connor Phillips (1-0, 2.55).
INFIELDER ALIKA WILLIAMS SELECTED BY PITTSBURGH
INDIANAPOLIS – The Pittsburgh Pirates today selected the contract of infielder Alika Williams, their No. 29 prospect according MLB Pipeline. He will become the ninth player from the 2023 Indianapolis Indians to debut this season, following right-handers Osvaldo Bido, Cody Bolton, Carmen Mlodzinski and Quinn Priester, catcher Endy Rodríguez, outfielder Henry Davis and infielders Nick Gonzales and Jared Triolo.
Williams, 24, has been on a tear for the Indians since being traded to Pittsburgh from Tampa Bay in exchange for right-hander Robert Stephenson on June 2. In 36 games, he owns a .305 batting average (39-for-128) with 25 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 20 RBI and 15 walks to just 22 strikeouts. Since beginning a season-high nine-game hitting streak on June 20, he is hitting .358 (34-for-95) with 12 multi-hit performances and seven home runs in 26 games.
In the middle infield, Williams – primarily a shortstop over the course of his career – has consistently made stellar defensive plays. He has logged a .958 fielding percentage (four errors in 95 total chances) in 244.1 innings and a .970 fielding percentage (one error in 33 total chances) in 69.1 innings at second base with Indy.
Williams was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the first round (37th overall) of the 2020 First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State (Tempe) University prior to being traded to Pittsburgh. His alma mater Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) High School and the Padres’ Petco Park, where he could make his MLB debut tonight or tomorrow afternoon, are separated by just 25 miles.