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Irvin dominates Charlotte in ‘Pigs win

Cole Irvin went 8 2/3 innings for Lehigh Valley in a 5-0 win over Charlotte on May 30, 2018. (Photo by Cheryl Pursell)

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs won Game 2 of their three-game series with the Charlotte Knights behind a stellar outing from Cole Irvin on Wednesday as the ‘Pigs downed Charlotte 5-0.

Irvin, who has been strong all season, continued his dominant work for Lehigh Valley, allowing only four hits through 8 2/3 shutout innings. The left-hander picked up a double play immediately following each of the first three hits. Through eight innings, Irvin had thrown 98 pitches but was allowed to start the ninth inning. He quickly retired the first two batters on infield pop-ups before giving up a base-hit to Jacob May and then walking Eddy Alvarez. At that point, manager Gary Jones exited the dugout and lifted Irvin in favor of Yacksel Rios who needed just one pitch to get Jake Elmore to ground out to third and end the game.

The walk to Alvarez was the only walk issued by Irvin (6-1, 2.73 in 10 starts) in the game. The double-play groundballs all came on the first pitch of the at-bat and meant that Irvin had faced the minimum number of batters through the first eight innings. He was looking to become just the fourth IronPigs pitcher to throw a complete game shutout. Les Walrond (2008), Dave Bush (2012) and Tom Eshelman (2017) are the only other pitchers to have ever thrown a complete game shutout as an IronPig, with Walrond striking out 17 batters in his shutout.

Throughout the game, Irvin mixed his pitches well using his slider, curve and change-up all for strikes. His fastball was in its usual 90 to 92 mile-per-hour range. Irvin told reporters after the game that he had the least command of his fastball throughout the night, but was still able to use it effectively. Throughout the season Irvin has shown good command of all of his pitches, none of which are necessarily a dominant pitch. His success comes through his command and a willingness to mix his pitches.

The fact that Irvin could be battling his fastball and still dominate hitters with his secondary pitches bodes well.

Irvin, 24, finished with a career-high 117 pitches, 74 of which were strikes.

Offensively, Dylan Cozens hit his 10th home run of the season for Lehigh Valley to lead-off the eighth inning. Danny Ortiz delivered a two-out, two-run double in the third and Alexi Amarista was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a run scored. Trevor Plouffe also had two singles in the game.

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