Erceg pulls hidden-ball trick on Buies Creek

Milwaukee's No. 7 prospect psychs out Tucker in seventh inning

Lucas Erceg applies the tag after Kyle Tucker takes a lead off third base in the seventh inning.

By Chris Tripodi / | May 3, 2017 8:40 PM

Class A Advanced Carolina tricked its way out of a sticky situation in a two-run game Wednesday. A double steal put runners on second and third for Buies Creek in the seventh inning. But thanks to the Mudcats' Lucas Erceg, Kyle Tucker of the Astros didn't last very long on third.

Milwaukee's No. 7 prospect executed a hidden-ball trick to eliminate the second-ranked Houston prospect and turn a potential trouble spot into a more manageable situation for Carolina, which went on to win, 3-0, at Five County Stadium.

Video: Carolina's Erceg pulls off hidden-ball trick

After Tucker slid safely into third on the double steal with Dexture McCall, Erceg faked a throw back to Mudcats reliever Wuilder Rodriguez and kept the ball in his glove for over 30 seconds while waiting for Tucker to take a lead. Once Houston's 2015 first-round pick stepped off the bag, Erceg quickly ran over and applied the tag before Tucker could get back to the base.

The umpires conferred before making the call since Rodriguez was on the mound when Erceg tagged Tucker. Buies Creek manager Omar Lopez did not think his runner should be called out and argued until he was ejected, and home-plate umpire Ryan Wilhelms called Tucker out shortly afterward.

Box score

Anibal Sierra grounded to Erceg in the next at-bat, but the ball deflected off the third baseman. It caromed right to shortstop Luis Aviles, who fielded the ball and threw in one motion to retire Sierra and keep the scoreboard clean.MiLB include

The hidden-ball trick wasn't Erceg's only contribution to the victory. His fourth-inning double to right -- fielded by Tucker -- plated Brewers No. 6 prospect Trent Clark to open the scoring.

Right-hander Conor Harber (1-1) allowed two hits and four walks while striking out four over six innings for Carolina. Rodriguez notched his first save after giving up a hit and a walk in three frames. He fanned five.

Chris Tripodi is an editor for Follow him on Twitter @christripodi. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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