Chris Isaac goes the distance on the mound, shutting out the Catawba Valley Stars Tuesday
By Ryan Decker
HICKORY, NC – In his first year with the Charlotte Crushers (15-18), Chris Isaac has proven to be among the best pitchers in the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League, earning All-Star honors.
In his last start, he pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout against the Virginia Marlins. Tuesday, Isaac went a full nine innings on the mound.
The young Crushers started needed just 88 pitches to record all 27 outs, shutting out the Catawba Valley Stars (18-15) offense in a 6-0 victory at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
“It was the fastball locations,” Isaac said. “I was throwing it inside and outside, up, down. They couldn’t figure out what to do with it.”
Isaac got off to a great start, pitching 1-2-3 innings in the first and second, and doing so again in the fourth and fifth innings.
By that time his offense had gotten him more than enough run support.
Charlotte scored a pair of runs in the top of the second inning on a two-run single by James Porcelly and then added to that lead an inning later on a two-run base knock by Seth Spillman.
The four-run cushion would be plenty for Isaac.
“With the lead you know you can hit locations and you still have that comfortable lead to work with,” he said. “I know with this team I have good defense behind me, and if they hit the ball, they’ll go track it.”
Isaac needed just 45 pitches to get through the first five innings, and used just 43 more the rest of the way.
He faced no more than five hitters in an inning and delivered six three-up-three-down frames. Isaac also never allowed a runner to reach third base, getting a little help from his defense in that regard.
The right-hander got three Stars hitters to roll into double plays, and his catcher, Spillman, threw out a runner trying to steal third base on a ball that bounced off the backstop in the third inning.
“(Spillman) is a great catcher,” Isaac said of his battery mate. “He knows what to call, when to call it. I love having him behind the plate because we just click.”
Stars defense helped out
Catawba Valley committed four errors in the game. One of those miscues was crucial.
Justin Williams hit a ground ball to the shortstop in the third inning that should’ve been an inning-ending double play. Instead, the ball was booted, and only one out was recorded keeping the inning alive.
That allowed two runs to score one hitter later on the single by Spillman.
A pair of overthrows from right field also allowed Crusher hitters to be able to take extra bases.
Leadoff hitters made the difference
Charlotte led off six of the nine innings by getting the first hitter of the frame on base. Four of those leadoff hitters that reached came around to score.
By comparison, Isaac only allowed two leadoff hitters to reach base, stranding both.
Team effort, offensively
Six different Crusher hitters collected a base hit Tuesday, the most for a single game in nearly three weeks for the club.
Five different Charlotte runners scored, and three different players had RBIs, including Porcelly who ended the game with three.
Spillman and Josh Hollifield, who drove in an insurance run in the ninth inning, are now tied for the team lead in runs driven in.