Luke Leftwich struck out 11 through seven innings to lead the Lakewood BlueClaws past the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns 5-0 in South Atlantic League play Monday night at FirstEnergy Park.
Working in front of 3,212 patrons, Leftwich (6-3) tied his professional career high in strikeouts. He has thrown 15 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts and no walks over his last two starts. He leads the league with 80 strikeouts.
Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies (Lakewood’s parent club) on the seventh round last June out of Wofford College, Leftwich surrendered four hits Monday night. The right-hander owns a 2.15 earned run average.
The BlueClaws (25-38) have won two straight games against Hagerstown, the Washington Nationals’ low Class A farm team
after the Suns captured the first 11 meetings between the two teams this year.
Lakewood took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
With two out and two on Deivi Grullon hit a first-pitch fastball onto the berm in right center for a 3-0 lead. It was his first homer since April 7–opening day.
The BlueClaws pushed their lead to 4-0 in the fourth on an opposite field single to right by Grenny Cumana.
Lakewood’s Jandido Tromp homered into the picnic area in left center for a 5-0 lead in the fifth. It was his 10th home run of the season and fourth in the last five games. It extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Robert Tasin got the last six outs. He struck out four walked two and yielded one hit. Teammate Zach Coppola, activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, stroked a base hit to extend his hitting streak to nine. Tromp and Grullon each had two hits.
Patrick Bourque (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing five runs–two earned–in 4 2/3 innings.
The series continues Tuesday night at 7:05 when righty Harold Arauz (2-4) starts for Lakewood while right-hander Pedro Avila (5-3) opens for the Suns at FirstEnergy Park.
Lakewood among the leaders: Minor League Baseball announced its list of Top 25 teams in licensed merchandise sales for 2015 and the BlueClaws were among the top clubs.
The combined totals of all 160 teams set a Minor League Baseball record with more than $65.1 million in retail sales. Another affiliated New Jersey team among the leaders was the Trenton Thunder, the New York Yankees’ farm team which competes in the Eastern League, a Double A circuit.
The $65.1 million total marks a 7.9 percent increase over 2014’s total of $60.3 million, which had been the highest total recorded since MLB’s licensing program began in 1992. The numbers are based on total licensed merchandise sales from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2015 and include the 160 teams in the domestic-based leagues that charge admission to their games.
Online sales have also played a significant role in the steady growth of merchandise sales as MLB experienced a 9.4 percent increase over 2014. Of the Top 25 teams, 23 have online stores using the MiLBStore.com platform.