Tri-City Dust Devils

Lauer and Dust Devils Shut Down Hops 2-0

PASCO, WASH - The Dust Devils bounced back from last night’s loss with a pair of dominating pitching performances by LHP Eric Lauer in his Northwest League debut, and RHP Jordan Guerrero, a sixth round draft pick in 2015, for a 2-0 victory over the Hillsboro Hops on Friday night.

“You can just see pitchability on him,” said Dust Devils’ manager Ben Fritz on what he thought of Lauer.

“What I mean by pitchability - and remember this is the first time I have seen him - it looks like he can throw three pitches in any count.”

Lauer, who threw 104 innings for Ken State this year with an NCAA leading 0.69 ERA is on a relatively limited pitch count for the remainder of the season and while happy with his performance tonight, seemed most relieved to be out of the heat of the AZL.

“That heat was ridiculous and you don’t want to be down there too long,” said Lauer on his escape from the Phoenix heat.

Lauer throws four pitches, a four-seam fastball, curve, slider and change-up.  He works more with a curve and a slider for his off-speed pitches; but to him the key to his success is a well-located fastball.

“As long as you can keep hitters off-balance with pace and location, you have a chance.”

Lauer was on a 40-pitch limit but only needed 30 to get through three scoreless innings.  The Padres plan to limit his innings/pitches - but from what we saw tonight; he doesn’t need that many.

After Lauer left Guerrero, who had struggled in his two previous outings, came in and threw five shutout innings for the win.

“It was awesome for him to bounce back after a couple of bad outings,” said Fritz.

“He’s gone the extra mile in working to control him emotions more.  He’s got a good arm and talent.”

The Dust Devils scored in the sixth with a clutch two-out RBI by catcher Kyle Overstreet scoring shortstop Chris Baker and in the seventh on left fielder Taylor Kohlwey’s sacrifice fly.  But to Overstreet, the big thrill was the shutout, not the RBI.

“I like the hits, but to me it is always more important to call a good game because the pitchers depend on you back there.”

“Without pitching you don’t have a chance to win.” 

Asked what it was like to catch Lauer, Overstreet smiled.

“It is a lot of fun to catch someone that can hit his spots whenever he wants too.”

RHP Jesse Scholtens pitched a scoreless ninth to record his second save of the season. 

Notes:  CF Buddy Reed got an assist and nailed a Hops’ runner at the plate with a strong throw from shallow center….at six-foot-four he is a premium athlete that can cover a lot of ground in center…Chris Baker continues to impress at shortstop and has some pop in his bat.  He should play there everyday for the TinCaps next year.

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