A strong regular season doesn't always lead to positive results in the playoffs. For one game, it did for Beloit Snappers right-hander Alex Burnett.
Burnett pitched five strong innings and combined with two relievers on a six-hitter Wednesday as the Snappers blanked the Swing of the Quad Cities, 5-0, in Game 1 of their Midwest League first-round playoff series.
"I was nervous," Burnett admitted. "It was really my first big game since high school. It felt really good to go out there and pitch as well as I did and set the tone for the team."
A midseason All-Star, Burnett (1-0) yielded five hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He went 9-8 and ranked fifth in the circuit with a 3.02 ERA.
The 20-year-old right-hander was 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts against the Swing. His lone win came on July 7, when he gave up two runs on six hits in five frames.
"My fastball and curveball were both working well and I was able to keep them down in the zone," said Burnett, who was worried he wouldn't be able to get back on the mound following a rain delay. "After the first inning, I was able to settle my nerves, but the delay concerned me. The coaches told me to hop on the bike to keep warm, and luckily the delay wasn't too long. I felt fine when I got back out there."
Dan Leatherman yielded a hit and struck out one over three innings before Anthony Slama pitched around a walk and fanned two in the ninth for the save.
Rene Tosoni and Gregory Yersich ripped RBI doubles and Garrett Olson lifted a sacrifice fly in a five-run fourth for the Snappers.
Quad Cities starter Tyler Herron (0-1) surrendered three runs on five hits and a walk while fanning four over 3 1/3 innings.
Jose Ramirez went 2-for-4 for the Swing.
Game 2 is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET in Beloit.