Good things come in threes for Peoria's Collier
Phillies prospect collects three hits, three RBIs as Javelinas top Scorpions
Threes were wild for Phillies prospect Zach Collier on Tuesday afternoon as he tripled, singled twice and drove in three runs in Peoria's 7-2 win over visiting Scottsdale.
A first-round pick out of California's Chino Hills High School in 2008, the 22-year-old Collier missed the entire 2010 season following surgery on his right wrist. He played in 78 games with the Phillies' Class A Advanced Florida State League affiliate in Clearwater this season, hitting .269 with six homers, 32 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.
Tuesday's contest against the Scorpions marked Collier's first three-hit outing of the AFL campaign. Batting second, he singled off Scottsdale starter Kyle Kaminska (Pirates) in the first and reached on a fielding error by Scorpions shortstop Gift Ngoepe (Pirates) in the third. He was stranded on third base both times.
He would not be stuck there in the fifth. Collier ripped an RBI triple off Kaminska, later scoring on a sacrifice fly by Javelinas first baseman Nate Freiman (Padres) to open up a 4-0 lead.
"The hit-and-run was on, which kind of opened things up," Collier said of his three-bagger. "I think the pitcher meant to go away, but he left it inside a little bit and I got good wood on it."
Collier came up again in the eighth, this time with the bases loaded, nobody out and a run already in. Scottsdale went to the bullpen for left-hander Dan Runzler, who pitched in six games for the National League champion Giants this season. Though Collier hit just .222 against southpaws during the regular season and was 1-for-8 in AFL action, he was able to flare a 2-2 slider into right field for a two-run single.
"I was a little excited when they brought in the lefty -- you know, it's a challenge and something I need to work on, and that's why we're here," he said.
Second baseman Jeudy Valdez (Padres) doubled and scored twice for the first-place Javelinas, who improved to 9-4 overall and 6-1 at home. Designated hitter Evan Bigley (Twins) added a pair of singles.
Starter Kyle Gibson, who was named AFL Pitcher of the Week earlier in the day on his 25th birthday, improved to 3-0 in his three AFL starts. The Twins' No. 16 prospect fanned eight over five innings in both of his previous games, but lasted only three scoreless frames -- allowing three hits and two walks while striking out three. He's given up one run in 13 innings and leads the AFL with 19 strikeouts.
Angels prospect Travis Witherspoon hit his second homer of the fall for the Scorpions, a solo shot in the sixth. Ronny Rodriguez (Indians) tripled, singled and scored the other Scottsdale run.
Kaminska fell to 1-1 with the loss, allowing four runs -- one earned -- on seven hits over four-plus frames. He walked one and fanned four.
John Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.