COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – Top prospect Chad Jenkins struck out nine over eight dominating innings to earn his first professional victory as the Lansing Lugnuts (12-7) shut out the West Michigan Whitecaps (6-13), 6-0, in the opener of a three-game series at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Drafted 20th overall in 2009 by the Blue Jays, the big right-hander had to wait until 2010 to make his pro debut. He took the mound on Tuesday night for his fourth start carrying a 5.63 ERA. It dropped nearly two runs after this performance.
Jenkins (1-1) scattered six hits and one walk in the finest performance of the young season by a Lugnuts starter. After Mike Gosse was thrown out at the plate to end the first inning, he did not allow a Whitecaps runner past second base.
An opportunistic Lugnuts offense tallied once in the first inning against West Michigan starter Giovanni Soto (1-2) before using shaky Whitecaps defense to score twice in the sixth, once in the seventh, and twice in the eighth innings against the 'Caps' bullpen.
Soto (1-2) suffered the hard-luck loss, striking out eight Lugnuts while allowing six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Evan Crawford pitched the ninth for the Lugnuts, who have won nine of their last 10 games.
Offensively, Lansing was led by two-hit games by Brad McElroy, A.J. Jimenez, and Kevin Nolan. Cleanup hitter Brad Glenn singled in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to 13 games.
The Nuts and 'Caps play the second game in their series at 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday night, with Lansing right-hander Ryan Tepera (1-0, 5.40) set to face West Michigan right-hander Ramon Lebron (2-0, 4.15)