Arizona Fall League Opening Day: Gonzales, Smith-Njigba Collect Hits For Peoria

Photo Credit: Jesse Kirkendall

  The 2021 Arizona Fall League kicked off on Wednesday, with all six teams in action. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, they sent seven players to Arizona to participate, four pitchers and three hitters.

All 30 teams were divided up into six groups of five, each selected their own representatives that made up the teams that would play in Arizona. 

For the Pirates, the team that their players would participate for was the Peoria Javelinas. Along with the Pirates, prospects from the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners would make up the Javelinas.

In their first game, Peoria lost to the Salt River Rafters by the score of 6-5. The Javelinas recorded nine hits on the game, with a couple of Pirates factoring into everything.

Nick Gonzales went 1 for 4 on the day, with a walk and a strikeout. In the outfield, Canaan Smith-Njigba started and collected a hit on his own, also walking twice and striking out once. His lone hit was a double, one of four extra base hits by the Javelinas.

Padres top pitching prospect, MacKenzie Gore, started the game as he looks to rebuild his blue chip status. The lefty former top ten prospect allowed two runs and struck out three over five innings pitched.

Peoria continues their schedule on Thursday with a game against the Glendale Desert Dogs, who feature prospects from NL Central rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Desert Dogs will feature a familiar face for Pirates fan, as Lars Nootbar is on the roster.

AFL Season Stats

Smith-Njigba 1-3 (.333), 2B, 2:1 BB:K

Gonzales - 1-4 (.250), 1:1 BB:K

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