Anderson leads Tourists in Game 3 rout

Rockies' No. 6 prospect retires final 12 batters faced in 9-0 win

By Zack Cox / Special to | September 13, 2012 7:35 PM

Game 3 of the South Atlantic League Championship Series played out much like the previous one game did two nights earlier.

Tyler Anderson turned in a masterful performance on the mound and Asheville blasted four home runs Thursday night in a 9-0 romp over Greensboro, putting the Tourists one win away from a Sally League title.

The Rockies' No. 6 prospect retired the final 12 batters he faced, scattering four hits over seven innings. It was the left-hander's fifth scoreless start of the season.

Anderson said he didn't have any one specific "out" pitch going for him, and instead relied on keeping pitches in the zone and trusting the defense behind him. The first-year pro struck out just three in the contest, but did not issue a walk.

"Nothing was really standing out as [a pitch] that was fooling guys, and the key when that happens is just getting out ahead of guys and throwing a lot of strikes," he explained. "That's what it came down to."

A first-round Draft pick in 2011 out of Oregon, Anderson was dominant in his debut season. The 6-foot-4 southpaw led all Sally League pitchers with a 2.47 ERA, compiling a 12-3 record in 20 regular-season starts.

Anderson has lived up to his hype in the postseason, striking out a career-high nine in a 6-2 win over Rome in the Southern Division Finals. He's allowed just one run over 13 innings in two playoff starts.

"These games are awesome," the Las Vegas native said. "On our team, these guys are so close. ... In big situations our team cowboys up, so it's a lot of fun to pitch for them. Our hitters battle all the time, so going out and trying to return the favor is a lot of fun."

Asheville has scored 19 runs since dropping a 6-3 decision in Game 1, pounding Greensboro for 27 hits over the last two games for a 2-1 series lead. The 10 runs put up by the Tourists in Game 2 was the highest one-game total of the Sally League playoffs.

All nine of the Tourists' runs Thursday came via the home run. Shortstop Taylor Featherston opened the scoring with a three-run blast in the third, and Ryan Casteel followed with a two-run shot in the next frame to give Asheville a 5-0 advantage.

Jared Simon launched a tape-measure shot over the left-field wall in the eighth, and Trevor Story -- Colorado's No. 2 prospect -- capped the victory with a two-run homer three batters later.

Simon racked up a game-high four hits, and he, Story and Casteel each scored twice for the Tourists.

"As a pitcher -- especially as a starter -- you try not to look at the scoreboard and pitch every ballgame like it's 0-0," Anderson said. "But it definitely makes it a little easier to throw strikes and get ahead when your team puts up a five-spot. It's going to take a lot for them to come back from that."

Greensboro starter Jake Esch (0-1) struck out seven but was chased after four innings, surrendering five runs on six hits.

Asheville can close out the series with a win Friday night in Greensboro.

Zack Cox is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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