Austin Meadows may be the newest Jammer, but he's quickly becoming the most valuable.
Two days after helping his new team clinch a playoff berth, the Pirates' No. 4 prospect homered again, tripled and drove in three runs to lead short-season Jamestown past State College, 6-5, on Friday night in Game 1 of the New York-Penn League semifinals.
"It's an exciting feeling when we scored in the first inning and made that statement," said Meadows, whose third homer in six games put Jamestown ahead. "We put three runs on the board, so it was good getting those first few runs."
The ninth overall pick in this year's Draft launched a three-run shot in the first inning and led off the third with a triple before scoring on a base hit by Edwin Espinal. He also homered in the regular-season finale on Wednesday as the Jammers beat State College, 9-4, to secure the Wild Card berth.
"It was a 2-1 count," Meadows said of his first postseason homer. "[Starter Nick Petree] threw me inside, and I figured he would go inside. He likes to come in hard, the scouting report said he comes inside, so I was looking for a fastball. He threw me two changeups, so I figured I'd see the fastball and was able to put the bat on it."
Jamestown padded its lead in the second when Mike Fransoso scored on a wild pitch. Espinal singled home Meadows and scored on a fielder's choice in the third to make it 6-0.
"I was able to get around on it inside, he tried to jam me," Meadows said of his triple off Petree. "I was able to get it down the line, so it was a good triple for me to lead off with. I figured it would be a tough game so it was big to get on board early."
The cushion was enough for Jammers starter Buddy Borden (1-0), who struck out seven and held the Spikes to three hits over five scoreless innings for the win.
Meadows appeared in only five games for Jamestown during the regular season, homering in his New York-Penn League debut on Aug. 31 after beginning his career in the Gulf Coast League. He's adjusted to his new level and team, although it's the exact opposite of playing in the obscurity of the GCL.
"It's a great atmosphere all-around. I've just enjoyed being up here on this team, facing State College and all the hype they had coming into the playoffs and us being an underdog," Meadows said. "It's definitely a big difference with the fans and atmosphere. The schedules are a lot different, you can sleep in here with night games, so it's a little more of a professional feeling."
State College rallied for five runs in the sixth against reliever Jerry Mulderig. Carson Kelly, Mason Katz and Jimmy Bosco delivered run-scoring hits, but the Spikes managed just one hit the rest of the way.
"I thought we stayed composed," Meadows said. "Our pitchers did a good job, our closer (Brett McKinney) came in and pitched well for us to protect the lead. We were composed and were able to pull it out."
Meadows said he's hopeful the Jammers can close out the series Saturday and advance to the Finals. Game 2 is at State College.
"I'm enjoying it here, getting to the playoffs in this race, I'm looking forward to the rest of it," he said. "We're hoping to go out and score early. And right now, I'm just looking forward to the bus travel and getting there and getting ready to play again. We'll need to be aggressive as a team and see what happens."
In other action:
Tri-City 1, Aberdeen 0
Conrad Gregor's ninth-inning homer off reliever Donnie Hart gave the ValleyCats the opener of the other best-of-3 semifinal series. IronBirds starter Sebastian Vader dominated, allowing five hits and striking out six over 8 1/3 innings before turning the ball over to Hart (0-1). Vader, who did not walk a batter, dueled with Tri-City counterpart Michael Feliz, who fanned eight and allowed three hits over seven frames.
Chris Munnelly (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless eighth and Gonzalo Sanudo picked up his first postseason save after pitching around a pair of hits in the ninth.
Gregor had two of the ValleyCats' seven hits. The 2013 fourth-round pick batted .289 with four homers and 35 RBIs in 74 regular-season games. Box score»