(BaseballStL) -- Seth Maness wasn't drafted for his bat. The 24-year-old was selected in 2011, and since then has seen just 30 plate appearances.
Two of them came Tuesday night when the reliever out of East Carolina University tossed 2.1 innings in extras against the Pirates.
His first appearance came in the 11th inning, as Pittsburgh walked Allen Craig to get to him with runners at first and third.
"I wasn't nervous at all. I mean there's no pressure," he told me in the clubhouse Wednesday. "I wasn't supposed to go up there and get a hit."
The Pirates brought the right fielder in to provide an extra body in the infield, hoping for the double play.
"I haven't picked up a bat in forever," he said. "The only thing I've been swinging is a golf club."
Indeed, he had just two at bats all year for the Cardinals before Tuesday, though that didn't stop him from trying to go the other way.
"They told me to try to hit the ball to right field. I thought I was trying to do that," he laughed. "But I was just trying to make contact."
He did make contact, though unfortunately it led to the rare 6-9-3 double play.
His ground ball ended the inning and pushed the game into the 12th, and then the top of the 13th, where Maness faced an all-too-familiar situation.
Two singles, a wild pitch and an intentional walk led to a bases loaded jam with one out on the board. It was time for the Maness special.
"[I was] just trying not to think about it too much" he said of the high-drama situation. "Just trying to stay in that moment. Not try to get the double play before the pitch is even thrown."
His focused paid off, and he got the double play- his 14th of the year.
What was his reward for Manessing out of another baserunner-laden jam? Another shot at the plate; this time with the bases loaded and two outs.
"I wanted to win the game so bad. But you know I was pretty relaxed because I'm not expected to do anything," he said. "It's just icing on the cake if you can get that hit."
The icing would belong ultimately belong to Adron Chambers in the next inning, as Maness took a called third to end the 13th.
Despite not netting a hit, the young reliever refused to go home without taking any hacks.
"I'm going to get my money's worth for sure" he smiled. "I just didn't come out on the winning end of it last night at the plate."
It's likely Maness won't get too many more plate appearances - let alone two in a game- this season. Despite still searching for that first MLB hit, he says the golf clubs are a far more friendly sight.
"I'm definitely more comfortable in the tee box," he chuckled, running his hands through his hair. "I need some work in the batter's box."