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Baysox's Wilson stellar, despite delay
Orioles prospect waits out rain, tosses seven one-hit innings
07/14/2013 1:33 AM ET
Tyler Wilson has a 3.61 ERA in 18 starts across two levels this season.
Tyler Wilson has a 3.61 ERA in 18 starts across two levels this season. (Bowie Baysox)

Nobody's hit Tyler Wilson harder over the past 10 days than Mother Nature.

In his last start before the Eastern League All-Star break, he logged three scoreless innings against Harrisburg before a two-hour rain delay cut short his outing. On Saturday, rain halted play for about an hour as Wilson and Bowie faced off against Richmond.

This time, the Orioles' No. 20 prospect waited out the weather and retired the last 17 batters he faced over seven one-hit innings as the Baysox crushed the Flying Squirrels, 13-0.

It was the most lopsided shutout win in team history and Bowie's second straight over Richmond after Chris Petrini, Clay Schrader and Marcel Prado combined on a two-hitter in the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader.

Wilson (4-1) needed only 84 pitches to get through seven innings as he struck out seven without walking a batter in his best outing since he was promoted to Double-A in early June. He's held opponents scoreless in three of his last four starts to lower his ERA to 2.17 ERA over 37 1/3 innings in the Eastern League.

Rain delayed the contest in the bottom of the fifth with Bowie leading, 3-0. Wilson was cruising and spent the delay riding a stationary bike and munching on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The 2011 10th-round Draft pick returned for the sixth and struck out Mark Wagner and Jarrett Parker in a 1-2-3 inning. He also retired the side in order in the seventh, getting flyouts from Joe Panik and Javier Herrera and a popup from Adam Duvall.

It wasn't the first time Wilson has succeeded after a delay. At the University of Virginia, he started an NCAA Super Regional game against UC-Irvine that was halted in the fourth inning. Despite the break, Wilson still went six innings, allowing one run while fanning six.

"Having the rain delay, if it's the right amount of time, it gives the body a little chance to push reset and give you more energy," Wilson said. "You can get a meal in you, refresh your mind and think about how to attack the guys you're going to face. It's basically an extra hour for you to prep for the next six or seven batters you're going to face."

While Wilson noted there's no "rulebook" on how a pitcher should manage his body during a delay, his theories on how to handle the break are a little more informed than the average player. While he was pitching alongside current Mariners' prospect Danny Hultzen at Virginia, Wilson also was earning a degree in biology with plans to become an orthopedic surgeon.

The 23-year-old right-hander still has medical goals in mind, but with the way he's climbing the Orioles' Minor League ladder, the Dr. Wilson days will have to wait. Baltimore started him in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2011, but he's already reached Double-A, where his polished repertoire has allowed him to find quick success.

That doesn't mean he hasn't picked up some things since getting to the Eastern League. Bowie's veteran backstops -- All-Star Caleb Joseph caught Saturday, while Luis Martinez, Ronny Paulino and Brian Ward are also on the roster -- have provided an even deeper education on the finer points of pitching.

"We have a great core group of catchers who have caught at higher levels and understand the game," Wilson said. "I've learned from their sequencing pitches and how they learn from hitters' previous at-bats. That's been huge for me in my six or seven starts that I've been here."

Wilson said that on Saturday, he primarily succeeded by locating his fastball early in counts to either get ahead or induce weak contact, then coming back with his array of off-speed pitches that include a slider, curve and changeup. His stuff isn't overpowering, so the tips he picks up from Bowie's catchers could prove crucial to his further development.

For now, the 6-foot-2 hurler is big on enjoying his opportunity to hit the field each day within driving distance of his hometown of Midlothian, Va. His family is often able to come see him pitch -- mom Linda was in attendance Saturday - and life seems pretty good.

"It's the best job in the world," Wilson said. "You want to enjoy that moment. You don't know how long you're going to be able to play the game, for whatever reasons. Right now, I'm enjoying it, trying to get better and improve my game and let my pitching speak for itself."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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