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Ngoepe, Neverauskas, Saupold arrested

Pirates prospects charged with assault, resisting arrest in bar brawl
August 30, 2016

Pirates prospects Gift Ngoepe and Dovydas Neverauskas were arrested on Sunday along with Tigers Minor League right-hander Warwick Saupold after the trio was involved in a bar fight in Toledo, Ohio, according to police.

Ngoepe, a 26-year-old shortstop with Triple-A Indianapolis, was charged with assault and two counts of resisting arrest for his role in an incident at The Bronze Boar in Toledo in the early-morning hours of Aug. 28, according to the police report.

Neverauskas, 23, was charged with two counts of resisting arrest and failure to obey a lawful order at an emergency, while Saupold, 26, was also booked on assault charges. 

The Pirates announced Tuesday that they have suspended both players for seven days, keeping them off the Triple-A Indianapolis roster the rest of the season.

"We are aware of the incident that took place over the weekend in Toledo and are extremely disappointed in the actions of Gift and Dovydas," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "We have made the decision to suspend both players for seven days, taking them through the remainder of their seasons."

Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield told's Jason Beck that the team is aware of Saupold's arrest and will let the legal system take its course.

Toledo Police said the incident occured around 2:43 a.m. and involved a fourth man who was also arrested on assault charges. According to the police report, Ngoepe grabbed an officer from behind and later pulled his hands away from an arresting officer, while Neverauskas grabbed the arm of an officer during an arrest. He was released from police custody at 5 a.m. and Ngoepe, who is currently on the Pirates' 40-man roster, was similarly released at noon. 

According to the report, Ngoepe, Saupold and Neverauskas were drinking together at the bar late Saturday night before Ngoepe allegedly confronted another man, Andrey Goncharuk, 25, after bartenders announced the establishment would be closing for the night. Witnesses said Ngoepe was unhappy about a bartender pouring out a drink the Indianapolis shortstop had handed him.

Goncharuk, according to witnesses, then got in between an irate Ngoepe and a female bartender, which led to the pair pushing each other. Following the scuffle, the trio of players exited the bar, but Ngoepe waited outside for Goncharuk, according to witnesses in the report.

Toledo Police said a pair of officers responded to the bar, which is across the street from the Mud Hens' Fifth Third Field, and found a large crowd fighting outside. Saupold punched Goncharuk in the face, according to police, prompting officers to arrest both men. Neverauskas, told several times to step back, then confronted an officer, asking, "What are you going to do, shoot me?"

Police then said Ngoepe "wrapped his arms around [the officer's] arms and chest and attempted to pull [him] away from Saupold in an attempt to prevent" the officer from arresting the Tigers prospect. The officer then pushed Ngoepe away and later arrested the infielder after Neverauskas "grabbed [the officer's] left arm and attempted to grab Ngoepe to prevent" him from also being arrested.

The report indicates that Neverauskas then resisted arrest, repeatedly pulling his arms away from an officer before falling and hitting his face on a brick, "which scratched his forehead and nose," police said. He was treated by the Toledo Fire Department for his facial injuries.

Both Ngoepe and Goncharuk were listed as victims in the police report. Goncharuk, of Monroe, Michigan, was charged with simple assault.

According to, Ngoepe was released on $250 bond. Saupold was released by police on $100 bond and started for the Mud Hens the following day, holding the Indians to six hits over five scoreless innings for his seventh win of the year.

Both Ngoepe and Neverauskas are scheduled to appear at Toledo Municipal Court on Sept. 13, according to

Ngoepe signed with Pittsburgh out of South Africa in 2008 and represented its national team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He's appeared in Major League Spring Training games with the Pirates every year since 2010, going 2-for-13 with a pair of RBIs in 10 games of 2016 Grapefruit League action.

This year at Indianapolis, he's hitting .217 with eight homers, 27 RBIs and five steals in 102 games. He hasn't appeared in a game since the arrest.

Neverauskas signed with the Pirates in 2010 out of Lithuania and is 21-24 with a 4.21 ERA in 147 career Minor League games. He's split the 2016 season between Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona, going 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 58 innings across both levels. The 2016 Futures Game All-Star last pitched in relief Aug. 27 against Toledo.

Saupold signed with the Tigers out of Australia in 2012 after pitching for Perth in the Australian Baseball League. He was an Eastern League All-Star with Double-A Erie in 2013, pitched five innings in a combined no-hitter for Toledo on April 23 of this season and made his Major League debut with Detroit on May 14. In the Majors, the righty is 1-1 with a 7.45 ERA in six relief outings.

Danny Wild is an editor for Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter.