Power's Borden shines in finest pro start

Pirates prospect gives up one hit, pitches career-high 6 2/3 innings

Buddy Borden is 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in three July starts for West Virginia. (Tracy Proffitt/Hickory Crawdads)

By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com | July 13, 2014 12:16 AM ET

Buddy Borden is halfway there, but he's not living on a prayer.

The Pirates prospect allowed one hit over a career-high 6 2/3 innings on Saturday night, pitching Class A West Virginia to a 6-0 blanking of Greensboro, at Appalachian Power Park.

Borden (5-6) yielded only a one-out single in the first inning to Grasshoppers left fielder Austin Dean. He set down 12 straight batters before Avery Romero reached on an error by shortstop JaCoby Jones with two outs in the seventh. Borden followed that by walking Chad Wallach, then exited after throwing 91 pitches.

"I was just able to get ahead of guys, stay ahead of guys and put them in a position where they were going to have to get themselves out," he said. "It was one of those games where the defense was in it the whole time, and that makes it easier to pitch.

"Tonight it was just fun to go out there and compete a little bit. Guys played great behind me. It was a lot easier to throw in those situations when you have a lot of run support."

The 22-year-old right-hander posted goose eggs for the second straight start after limiting Delmara to two hits over five innings on July 7. He credits some mechanical tweaks for the recent success.

"We took an approach that we were trying to work on my approach mechanically," Borden said. "It's halfway there. It's now coming into play a little more; I'm able to repeat it more. It's starting to come into play in the game."

A seventh-round pick a year ago, Borden lowered his ERA to 3.31 in 19 appearances, including 18 starts, for the Power. He ranks fourth in the South Atlantic League with a .220 opponents' batting average.

"I think it's great," Borden said of his first full season in pro ball. "I've had some success, I've had some failures that you can learn from. It's different playing this many games, I love it. Wouldn't trade it for the world."

Felipe Gonzalez followed Borden and gave up two hits while striking out three over the final 2 1/3 innings as West Virginia recorded its fifth shutout of the season.

Erich Weiss slugged a three-run homer on a three-hit night for the Power, while Jones -- the Pirates' No. 15 prospect -- singled, lifted a sacrifice fly and scored a run.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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