Kopech leads Boston hurlers in combined strong outing
By William Boor
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A trio of Red Sox prospects combined to throw six scoreless innings in Surprise's 1-0 loss to Mesa on Tuesday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.
Michael Kopech (Red Sox No. 5) had the most dominant outing, carving his way through the Solar Sox lineup for four innings before handing the ball off to a pair of lefties -- Jalen Beeks (Red Sox No. 29) and Trey Ball (Red Sox No. 14).
The 20-year-old right-hander was lights out from the beginning, opening the game with nine straight strikes and striking out three of the first four batters he faced.
Kopech gained notoriety earlier in the year when he fired a fastball 105 mph during a start with Class A Salem, and although he didn't hit triple digits Tuesday, his pitches were still explosive as he averaged 95.6 mph with the 23 fastballs he threw.
Kopech struck out 82 in 52 innings with Salem this season and has already struck out 18 in 14 AFL innings.
Beeks took over in the fifth, and after a rough start to the AFL in which he gave up three runs across his first three outings, he has settled down. Beeks did walk two on Tuesday but managed to get out of the inning with his third consecutive scoreless frame.
Ball's 7.04 AFL ERA is inflated because of one rough outing, but after throwing a scoreless frame on Tuesday, he has put up a zero in five of his seven outings.
William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.