In Eric Hurley's Triple-A pitching debut, his highlight came early and his lowlights came often — the lowlights a result of bad luck more than bad pitches.
Hurley pitched the first five innings of the RedHawks' 7-1 loss to Omaha before 7,086 Monday afternoon at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. The Texas Rangers' top prospect struck out the first batter he faced, Mitch Maier, on three pitches. But the next Royal hitter, Richard Lewis, tripled to right-center and scored on a groundout. Hurley threw 97 pitches, 60 for strikes, in his five innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, two walks and two hit batsmen. "Any time you give up five runs it's not very good,” Hurley said. "I was rushing a little bit. It definitely wasn't a good outing. I didn't win.” If not for two poor throws to first base, Hurley likely would have allowed only one run. Hurley should have gotten out of the second inning unscathed, but the Royals scored three runs after a "third out” grounder was turned into an infield single by shortstop Joaquin Arias' soft throw to first. Arias, recovering from shoulder problems, played in his first game this season. The grounder was his first chance in the field. In the Omaha fifth, minor league home run leader Craig Brazell led off with a double.
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MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: Oklahoma RedHawks' Eric Hurley delivers a pitch during their game against the Omaha Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman