Missions’ Lauer locks down Nats
San Antonio pitcher delivers shutout in first Double-A start
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.”
■ 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.
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