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Tomlin's complete game shutout stymies Bulls 3-0

Josh Tomlin pitched 9 innings of 3 hit baseball in Thursday's win.

Tomlin's complete game shutout stymies Bulls 3-0
Clippers starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) pitched nine scoreless innings, while allowing just three hits and striking out ten Durham Bulls in Thursday's 3-0 win. (Photo credit: Brittany Chay)
May 2, 2014
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DURHAM, NC – If the Cleveland Indians are still looking for a starting pitcher to fill out their rotation, Josh Tomlin (2-1, 2.06) made his case for the role on Thursday. Tomlin hurled a three hit shutout as the Columbus Clippers (12-13) defeated the Durham Bulls 3-0 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Even with the loss, Durham (18-10) owns the best record in the International League.  They are top five in the league in nearly every offensive statistical categories, including hits, doubles, triples, home runs, walks, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. On Thursday, Josh Tomlin shut them down and made it look easy.

Tomlin extended his scoreless inning streak to 20, which dates back to April 18 against the Toledo Mud Hens at Huntington Park.  He gave up a two-run home run to Ezequiel Carrera in the third inning of that game before shutting down them down over the next three innings.    

Tomlin has also been very pitch-efficient in each of his last two starts.  Against the Bulls, he took that to a whole new level.  After six innings, he had 60 pitches and 48 strikes.  His performance proved that a high strikeout total does not mean a high pitch count.  He finished with ten strikeouts on just 89 pitches, 70 for strikes. 

Even when he was in trouble, he was remarkable.  In both the fifth and sixth innings, Durham had a runner in scoring position and less than two outs.  Wilson Betimet led off the Durham fifth with a double.  Tomlin struck out Jerry Sands, coaxed a groundout from Mike Fontenot that advanced the runner to third and struck out Ray Olmedo to escape trouble. 

In the Durham sixth, Hak-Ju Lee doubled over Matt Carson’s head in left to open the inning.  Roman Ali Solis advanced Lee to third on a groundout to second.  Tomlin then got Kevin Kiermaier to pop out in foul territory to Audy Ciriaco at third, and then struck out Justin Christian to keep his scoreless streak intact.

After a leadoff triple in the Clippers second by Carlos MoncriefRyan Rohlinger drove him in with a sacrifice fly. 

They added to their lead in the fourth with run scoring singles from Ciriaco and Justin Sellers.

The Clippers reached base via a hit in their first five innings, and were set down in order just once.  The Clippers recorded ten hits by eight different batters led by Sellers and Nyjer Morgan’s two-hit nights.  They combined to bat 4-for-10 with three doubles and a RBI.

The only Columbus batter held out of the hit column was April’s hottest hitter Roberto Perez, who finished the month batting .409 in 44 at-bats.  Because of the small sample, his 0-for-4 game dropped his average to .375. 

The Clippers and Bulls meet again for the second of a four-game series on Friday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  Making his fifth start, Travis Banwart (1-0, 4.15) is the scheduled to start for Columbus.  In his last start on Saturday night at Norfolk, Banwart pitched 5.2 scoreless innings allowing just three hits.  He struck out four and walked three.  The Clippers ended up losing that game, in extra innings, 4-3.  The Durham Bulls will counter with lefty Mike Montgomery (3-0, 2.81), who is making his sixth start of the year. 

Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.

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