Donnie Sellers was so good on the mound Monday night that he was, in a way, a pitcher even he didn't recognize.
The right-handed Toronto prospect made his second relief appearance of the season one to remember, striking out 12 batters without a walk over five scoreless innings as Class A Lansing routed Fort Wayne, 10-1.
"I don't think I ever had double digits [strikeouts] in college," Sellers told the Lugnuts postgame. "I was more of a contact guy in college, so I don't know where all these strikeouts came from."
Gameday box score
After Lansing starter Maverik Buffo departed following four innings of one-run ball, the Wake Forest product stepped onto the mound with a comfortable five-run lead and a mandate to simply get outs. They didn't come in his traditional fashion, but Sellers wasn't complaining.
"I'm really happy with today's game," he said. "I think everything went well. The fastball was working, slider was working, changeup was there when it needed to be. All in all, it was really a good win for us as a group."
Sellers struck out two in the fifth and fanned the side in the sixth. After notching one K in the seventh, he worked around singles by Fort Wayne's Carlos Belen and Juan Fernandez to fan the side again in the eighth and matched the feat in the ninth. Sellers, who struck out two in his first inning of the season Thursday, entered Monday night with a personal high of five strikeouts in a game, set last July 13 for Class A Short Season Vancouver.
"[I was] just getting ahead of them with my fastball and using my slider to finish them off, pretty simple," he said. "We talk about it, but it doesn't always go how you plan it."
Lansing did more than enough offensive work in a five-run second inning highlighted by a two-run double to right field by Chavez Young. After adding a run on Kevin Smith's solo blast to left in the fifth, the Lugnuts plated three more in the seventh and one in the ninth on Cullen Large's first home run of the season.
"It's nice to know you don't have to worry about blowing the lead or having to pitch too close of a game even though it is more fun to pitch in a closer game because both teams are more in it," Sellers said. "But yeah, it's nice to have run support."
Fort Wayne's lone tally came in the bottom of the first. San Diego's No. 19 prospect Jeisson Rosario drove a fly ball to left and raced all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, his first round-tripper of the year.