Mis­sions’ Lauer locks down Nats

San An­to­nio pitcher de­liv­ers shutout in first Dou­ble-A start

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - SAN AN­TO­NIO 1, NW ARKANSAS 0 LELAND BARCLAY

SPRING­DALE — The Texas League first-half di­vi­sion champs opened a three­game se­ries with a pitch­ing duel.

San An­to­nio’s Eric Lauer was the star, though, on Sun­day af­ter­noon, toss­ing a gem in his first Dou­ble-A start in a 1-0 win against North­west Arkansas be­fore 3,329 at Ar­vest Ball­park.

“That was un­be­liev­able,” San An­to­nio Man­ager Phillip Well­man said. “He just got here two days ago. He’s been at A-ball deal­ing. That was very, very im­pres­sive.”

Lauer threw 7 2/3 in­nings and gave up seven hits with no walks and nine strike­outs.

“He pounded the strike zone with three or four dif­fer­ent pitches,” Well­man said. “He threw his changeup and curve­ball, and com­manded his fast­ball and his slider were all re­ally good. The big­gest thing was he threw strikes.”

Lauer threw 96 pitches, and 76 of them were for strikes.

“He didn’t seem to scare at all in his first start at Dou­ble-A,” Well­man said. “He just went on the at­tack. It was good.”

Lauer, 22, just called up from Lake Elsi­nore of the Class A-Ad­vanced Cal­i­for­nia League. Lauer was a firstround pick by the Padres, the 25th pick over­all, out of Kent State last June.

“That doesn’t mat­ter to me, I could care less,” Well­man said. “I don’t even pay at­ten­tion to that. He con­trolled the run­ning game very well, which is an ad­vanced art. That’s fun­da­men­tals. He’s got a great move to first base. He pounded the strike zone and had tremen­dous poise. I en­vi­sion this guy pitch­ing in the big leagues in a year or two. I didn’t know he was a first-round pick. That’s in­ter­est­ing.”

The Nat­u­rals (45-35, 6-4 sec­ond half) scratched out sin­gles in the third, fourth and fifth in­nings, and An­der­son Miller and Hum­berto Arteaga had back-to­back two-out sin­gles in the sev­enth in­ning be­fore Lauer struck out Don­nie De­wees.

“He pitched a heck of a game,” North­west Arkansas Man­ager Vance Wil­son said. “He hides the ball, there’s some­thing to him. You have to tip cap to him a lit­tle bit.”

North­west Arkansas had its best chance to dent Lauer in the eighth. Af­ter an out, Al­lan De San Miguel grounded a sin­gle up the mid­dle and Jack Lopez nar­rowly missed a homer to the left cen­ter­field al­ley. The dou­ble by Lopez sent pinch-run­ner Cody Jones to third. Jones had no chance to score on a sharp grounder to short against a drawn-in in­field by Nicky Lopez. Lauer then gave way to re­liever Trey Win­gen­ter, who struck out Samir Duenez to end the threat.

“It was muggy, it was hot,” Wil­son said. “It was one of those games where the ball wasn’t fly­ing. I thought Jack got that ball. It was a good game on both sides.”

The Nat­u­rals’ Jake Kal­ish al­lowed just a sin­gle run in six in­nings on five hits. The Nat­u­rals turned two dou­ble plays.

San An­to­nio (48-32, 7-3) scored the game’s lone run in the fifth in­ning. Nick Tor­res led off with a dou­ble to deep dead right and scored on a sharp sin­gle to left by Luis Urias with two outs. Tor­res scored ahead of the tag in an al­most car­bon copy of a play in the fourth when Nat­u­rals’ left­fielder Al­fredo Es­calara threw out Nick Schulz at the plate try­ing to score from

sec­ond with two outs on a sharp sin­gle. Schulz was out by sev­eral steps.

“We got a cou­ple of big hits with two outs,” Well­man said. “One of them got thrown out at the plate and one of them didn’t. That was the dif­fer­ence in the ball game.”

SHORT HOPS

■ Mis­sions pitch­ers Eric Lauer and Trey Win­gen­ter com­bined to strike­out 11 bat­ters on Sun­day, mark­ing the 32nd dou­ble-digit strike­out per­for­mance by San An­to­nio this sea­son

■ San An­to­nio im­proved to 39-1 when lead­ing af­ter eight in­nings this sea­son

■ With nine strike­outs and no walks on Sun­day, Lauer’s strike­out-to-walk ra­tio this sea­son im­proved to 130-to-28.

On Deck: The Nat­u­rals will go with Ash­ton Goudeau (3-6, 4.74) on the mound while the Mis­sions will start Chris Huff­man (3-1, 2.52) in the mid­dle game of the three-game se­ries. Goudeau will make just his sixth start of the sea­son in his 19th ap­pear­ance. He has al­lowed two earned runs in five in­nings of re­lief work in two games against San An­to­nio, both in the first two weeks of the sea­son. Huff­man be­gan the sea­son in the Class A-Ad­vanced Cal­i­for­nia League for Saint Elsi­nore.

Tonight’s Pro­mo­tion: Ozarks Elec­tric Co­op­er­a­tive will spon­sor the first of a two-night post-game Fourth of July Fire­works Spec­tac­u­lar. Fans will also en­joy some great Amer­i­cana mu­sic dur­ing the game and through­out the Fire­works Spec­tac­u­lar. Fans can also par­tic­i­pate in a Happy Hour at Ar­vest Ball­park from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Bullpen Craft Beer Bar lo­cated down the first-base line. Fans at­tend­ing the game will get half-off price deals on over 70 dif­fer­ent al­co­holic bev­er­ages prior to the game.

On The Air: KQSM-FM 92.1

On The Web: www.nwanat­u­rals.com

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