PASCO, Wash. — When a team gives up 10 runs before they even have a chance to bat, chances are it’s not going to be a great night. This held true for the Tri-City Dust Devils on Tuesday night as they fell to the Spokane Indians 15-4.
By the bottom of the third, Tri-City was down 14-0.
The Dust Devils were able to stop the scoring onslaught thanks to Connor Lehmann, 22, this year’s seventh-round pick out of St. Louis University. The 6-foot-7 righthander threw three innings and gave up only one run in increasingly windy conditions.
“He had good fastball command tonight,” said Mike McCoy, the Dust Devils’ manager. “He threw his fastball more than he had been throwing it. I think he had been mixing his off-speed in a little too much.”
In his last year with the Billikens, Lehmann had a 3.89 ERA in 89 innings with 111 strikeouts to 34 walks. Through his first 13 professional innings, he has a 3.38 ERA with 13 strikeouts despite 10 walks. Headed into the draft, Baseball America said his fastball was 88-93 with an average changeup and below-average breaking ball. How much his secondary pitches improve will determine if his future is in the rotation or in the bullpen.
To the Dust Devils’ credit, they had nine hits on the night and didn’t mail it in.
“It’s their jobs,” said McCoy on how his team competed despite being down by 14 runs at one point. “So hopefully they just don’t roll over and die when they are losing. The numbers still count.”