It was a good morning for Lake County's Michael Goodnight and his teammates, as the righty combined with two relievers to one-hit the Lansing Lugnuts in a 2-1 pitchers' duel Tuesday morning.
Goodnight, a 13th-round 2009 Draft selection by the Indians out of the University of Houston, got the nod for the 10:35 a.m. first pitch, and the Lugnuts got their only hit of the game before the clock struck 11 at Cooley Stadium in Lansing.
In the first inning, Goodnight walked Jonathan Jones, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. The righty then caught the next two batters looking before K.C. Hobson's RBI single accounted for the only hit and run by the Lugnuts in the game.
Lansing was able to muster just two walks and a hit by pitch the rest of the way. Goodnight had 10 strikeouts of Lugnuts batters, which bettered his career high by four. He had two strikeouts in the first, second, fourth and fifth. After issuing a walk by Lansing's Joe Bowen in the third, Goodnight retired the final 12 batters he faced.
"I was able to throw four pitches for strikes and keep them off balance," said Goodnight. "I was able to change their eye levels with a high fastball or come back in the dirt with the curveball or slider."
Tuesday's start marked the second straight time Goodnight has gone six innings, which is also a career high, although this is just his 10th career start.
"I've been feeling pretty comfortable on the mound, able to throw my fastball for strikes and establish it, and I've been able to throw my offspeed pitches off of the fastball," said Goodnight.
"He's pretty polished," said Lake County pitching coach Jeff Harris. "He stays in his delivery, where a lot of young guys have a tendency overthrow. When he does overthrow, he makes the adjustment -- he makes adjustments quickly."
The Captains got the only two runs their pitching staff would need in the fifth inning on a walk, two errors and a single. Tyler Cannon had the go-ahead single to plate Argenis Martinez.
Dale Dickerson replaced Goodnight after six innings and threw two hitless frames. He walked the first batter he faced and then hit a man in the eighth, but both runners were eliminated on double plays. Clayton Ehlert came on in the ninth and retired the Lansing side in order for his seventh save.
The Indians originally selected Goodnight in the 27th round of the 2008 Draft, then took him again 14 rounds earlier as a Draft-eligible sophomore in 2010. After signing last summer, Goodnight joined the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, where he made four starts and had a 4.05 ERA over 13 innings.
Through six 2011 starts, Goodnight has yet to allow more than three earned runs and has made it through at least five innings in five of his starts.
"In the offseason, I focused on getting a lot stronger," said Goodnight who spent the previous offseason attending class in his hometown of Houston. "It's a little easier to put more of your effort into the offseason, because you don't have to go to class. There's just one thing to do. I can definitely see the difference in the transition from the offseason."