Pirates' Hearn dominates again in latest AFL outing

Pirates' Hearn dominates again in latest AFL outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pirates No. 11 prospect Taylor Hearn stepped onto the mound for his third start for the Glendale Desert Dogs and dominated the Scottsdale Scorpions with three innings of one-hit baseball.

The lefty had good tailing action on his fastball, which forced five groundouts and two flyouts. He struck out one and totaled 37 pitches, 23 for strikes, to help Glendale defeat Scottsdale, 12-7, on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona Fall League action.

Gameday

"Everything was working," Hearn said. "Felt my mechanics were in sync and had great defense behind me."

Hearn's fastball was not the only pitch that worked for him. He said his slider was one of his pitches he was aiming to improve.

"That was my main goal coming in here was just to work on that, and for me to throw it for strikes and put guys away with it lets me know everything's working," he said.

In Hearn's three starts, he has allowed 10 runners to reach base and only one has come around to score in nine innings. He started the fall as a reliever but has had more impressive stats when he has started. Out of the bullpen, he posted a 4.76 ERA in 5 2/3 innings compared to a 1.00 ERA in his nine innings as a starter.

"It's definitely a big change, but not too much," he said. "I was a starter all year and I was in the 'pen also so it's not too much of a difference with being out here. Being in such a long season, it does wear on you a bit but it's not too bad."

Hearn's performance was backed by an offensive onslaught from Glendale that started in the second inning. The Desert Dogs were led by Pirates prospect Logan Hill, who went 2-for-5 with a two-run double in the second inning and two runs scored. White Sox prospect Danny Mendick replicated that with a double of his own, totaling two RBIs and two runs scored in a 2-for-4 effort. Dodgers No. 30 prospect Matt Beaty contributed two hits and drove in three in five at-bats.

Scottsdale would make a late push in the bottom of the eighth. Giants No. 8 prospect Aramis Garcia led the offense with a 2-for-4 day, scoring once and driving in three of the Scorpions' seven runs. Fellow Giants prospect Steven Duggar (No. 7) scored twice and hit a solo shot off the top of the right-field wall in the fourth inning.

Yankees No. 4 prospect Justus Sheffield took a line drive from Dodgers No. 8 prospect Will Smith off his left leg in the top of the second with one out and was removed from the game. Sheffield's final line was one hit, two earned runs, one walk and one strikeout on 21 pitches and only nine strikes.

Another notable injury came in the same inning as Angels No. 3 prospect Matt Thaiss was hit by a pitch on the helmet by Hearn. He remained in the game and was caught stealing at second base. Thaiss was replaced at first base by Yankees No. 23 prospect Billy McKinney two innings later.

Mitch Vareldzis is a senior sports journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.