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Pirates Buzz: Walker emerging as leader and possible star; Hultzen has “great performance” Friday night vs UNC

Morning Pirates Buzz

— The Pirates getting strong pitching performances from their No. 4 and No. 5 pitchers in James McDonald and Jeff Karstens on back-to-back nights has been big for them after Charlie Morton snapped the Pirates 6 game losing streak Wednesday night against Cincinnati.
One thing the Pirates have been this season under manager Clint Hurdle is resilient as things were looking bleak for them going into Cincinnati Wednesday night. The team has now won three straight for the second time this season and are just two games under .500.
— Neil Walker is emerging as a possible star of the Pirates young core and the leader of the team.
He has that aura about him that clutch players have. Walker had five 2-out RBI’s in Friday’s 10-1 win over the Tigers.
Walker may not have the “ceiling” of a McCutchen and Alvarez but he’s the best bet of becoming one of the best at his postion.
Walker leads or is near the top of every key offensive category for the Pirates:
Batting average – .288 (1st)
Hits – 47 (1st)
Runs – 28 (1st)
Home Runs – 6 (2)
RBI’s – 29 (1st)
Doubles – 11 (1st)
OBP – .361 (2nd)
Slugging % – .466 (2nd)
— Likely 1st overall pick Danny Hultzen was “brilliant” against UNC on Friday night, according to the schools official site.
“Virginia starting pitcher Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) pitched brilliantly, tossing seven shutout innings before the Tar Heels touched him up for two runs in the eighth. Hultzen (9-3) pitched 7.2 innings, allowing two earned runs, four hits and two walks while striking out 10 in taking the hard-luck loss. “
“Hultzen struck out nine of the Tar Heels’ first 12 batters and retired UNC’s first 14 hitters before Tommy Coyle’s two-out single to left-center in the fifth inning. He now has 361 career strikeouts as he moved into eighth place in ACC history in career strikeouts, passing Clemson’s Kris Benson (356) and Ryan Mottl (360).”
— On the Farm: Indianapolis defeated Buffalo 3-2. Rudy Owens (3-3, 4.17 ERA) earned his 3rd win of the season, allowing 7 hits and 1 earned run in seven innings Friday night for Triple-A Indianapolis (18-25). Owens struck out two batters and walked none. Owens had 7 groundouts and 6 flyouts.
John Bowker (.347) continues to hit the ball extremely well and was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Pirates reliever Evan Meek continues his rehab stint in Indy and Meek pitched 1 shutout inning. All he needed was 5 pitches to get 3 batters out. Meek is scheduled to pitch on Saturday.
He is on track to join the Pirates following the weekend.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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