Prince displays leadoff skills in Dogs' comeback
Brewers prospect drives in three, scores winning run in ninth to beat Javelinas
Every fireworks display needs a spark. Josh Prince provided it on Saturday in the Arizona Fall League.
The Brewers prospect reached base five times, collected three RBIs and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Phoenix Desert Dogs overcame a seven-run deficit in a 12-11 victory over the Peoria Javelinas.
Prince drew a six-pitch walk leading off the ninth. He took second on a sacrifice by Rays' top prospect Hak-Ju Lee and came home on a single to center field by Max Stassi (A's).
A 2009 third-round Draft pick, Prince has done his job at the top of the order this fall, hitting .433 with a .541 on-base percentage through nine games.
The 24-year-old outfielder has been especially dangerous against the Javelinas, following up a 4-for-5 performance in the teams' first meeting on Oct. 12 by going 3-for-3, walking twice and falling a home run short of the cycle.
"I felt confident, relaxed," Prince said. "I was playing the game the best I could and, luckily, today the balls went where people weren't and I was able to get on base and score runs for the guys behind me."
Peoria got off to a fast start, posting crooked numbers in each of the first four innings to build an 11-4 lead.
Padres' top prospect Rymer Liriano got the Javs going with a two-run homer -- his first in the AFL -- in the opening inning. Didi Gregorius (Reds) doubled home Stefen Romero (Mariners) in the second, then scored on a base hit by Nate Roberts (Twins) to make it 4-0.
Phoenix touched Javelinas starter James Paxton for four runs in the bottom of second to tie it. The Mariners' No. 5 prospect had allowed just one run in his first two Fall League starts.
But Peoria answered with seven runs over the next two frames.
"We came into the dugout after the fifth inning, down 11-4, and Darnell Coles, our hitting coach, and a couple of the other coaches were just telling us, 'Don't give up, don't give up. Keep fighting, we're still in this game,'" Prince said. "And we bought into it, just kept having quality at-bats and fought our way back into the game."
Fellow Brewers farmhand Brock Kjeldgaard homered in the sixth to reduce the deficit to 11-5 and Prince laced a two-run triple -- his second AFL extra-base hit -- as part of four-run seventh that got the Javs within 11-9.
"He threw a first-pitch changeup for a ball, then a fastball right down the middle that I took for some reason," Prince said, referring to Twins left-hander Caleb Thielbar. "I was just looking for something I could drive and at 3-1 he threw me a fastball middle-in. I didn't try to do too much and luckily put the bat on the ball and put it somewhere they were not at."
Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay's No. 20 prospect, tied the game with a two-run bomb in the eighth and A's right-hander Gary Daley (1-0) loaded the bases in the ninth before striking out Cory Spangenberg (Padres) to set up the dramatic finish.
It was the top offensive performance of the season for the Desert Dogs, who have totaled 22 runs in winning their last two games. Eight of the nine starters recorded a hit and seven scored or drove in runs.
"It takes the pressure off of everybody," Prince said of his teammates' success at the plate. "You know that if you don't do it, the next guy is going to; that's just how we feel. A lot of guys can really swing the bats here and it just relaxes everyone, makes us not try to do too much."
Zack Cox is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.