Daytona Beach, FL - Remarkable pitching continued to fuel the Daytona Cubs' push for a sixth Florida State League Championship on Thursday at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. The Cubs blanked the Charlotte Stone Crabs 5-0 in game one of the FSL Championship series, their 18th shutout of the season.
RHP Pierce Johnson (W, 7-1, 1-0) tossed five shutout innings in the start for the Cubs. He surrendered five hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter. Johnson has not allowed a run over his last five starts (23.2 IP).
The Cubs, who came into the game 0-6 against the Stone Crabs this season, scored four runs in the first two innings to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
RF Pin-Chieh Chen singled to lead off the first and CF Zeke DeVoss doubled to right to put runners on second and third with no outs. 1B Dustin Geiger grounded a ball to SS Jake Hager which scored Chen to put the Cubs up 1-0. Charlotte starter RHP Jesse Hahn (L, 2-2, 0-1) stranded DeVoss on-base and escaped the first inning having only allowed the single run.
In the second, command eluded Hahn. LF Anthony Giansanti led off the frame with a double to deep center. After C Chadd Krist struck out, Giansanti broke late for a delayed steal of third on a two-strike pitch to 2B Wes Darvill. Darvill swung at the pitch which was in the dirt, and instead of throwing down to first to retire Darvill, Crabs catcher Jake DePew threw to third and the throw was not in time to catch Giansanti stealing. Darvill reached base safely on the strikeout and wild pitch. SS Elliot Soto then reached on a walk to load the bases. Only an inning removed from his lead-off single, Chen lined a bases-clearing 3-run double to left-center to extend the Cubs lead to 4-0.
"I got a fastball outside and just tried to go the other way with it," Chen said. "It felt good to help the team."
The Cubs added a run in the fourth on a Geiger RBI double to the wall in the center to take the 5-0 lead.
LHP Jeff Lorick pitched three innings in relief of Johnson, and allowed four hits with no walks and one strikeout.
RHP Zach Cates finished the game for the Cubs in the ninth.
DeVoss reached base in all four plate appearances. He went 2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks.
Chen, Geiger and Giansanti each had two hits as well.
Daytona has not allowed an earned run over 27 postseason innings. The three Cubs postseason starters, RHP Corey Black, RHP C.J. Edwards and Johnson have combined to throw 15 shutout innings, and have allowed nine hits with two walks and 19 strikeouts.
With the win, Daytona has won 14 of its last 15 games.
The Cubs will take on the Stone Crabs in game two of the FSL Championship Series on Friday at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.