When Aaron Slegers stuck to his game plan on Sunday, it produced one of the best starts of his career. But when he stuck to his teammates' plan, it produced a bracing surprise.
The Twins prospect pitched a two-hitter for his first career nine-inning complete game and shutout, then got an ice bucket shower as Class A Advanced Fort Myers blanked Brevard County, 4-0, at CenturyLink Sports Complex.
"From the beginning, I was throwing strikes and throwing up in the zone, which has kind been of my recipe for success my whole career," said Slegers, who recorded a career-best nine strikeouts. "[The plan] was always two-seamers in to righties, which the whole lineup was right-handed tonight. So it was always two-seamers in and throw the curveball over for strikes, and that really worked well with getting ground balls and missing barrels."
The 22-year-old right-hander did not issue a walk but hit two batters and threw a wild pitch. Brewers No. 28 prospect Omar Garcia got plunked to start the game, then stole second and third, putting Slegers (3-2) in an early jam.
"The game plan from before the game started was pitch inside with the two-seamer and one kind of got away there. [First] batter of the game, I hit him, I grazed his jersey," he said. "In terms of the two stolen bases, I was being a little too predictable."
The 6-foot-10 hurler stranded Garcia by striking out Brewers No. 4 prospect Clint Coulter and getting No. 14 prospect Victor Roache to ground out. He gave up two hits in the second, then settled down and retired the next nine Manatees before hitting Angel Ortega in the fifth. Slegers committed a throwing error an inning later that allowed Christopher McFarland to reach and yielded a single to Roache in the ninth but was otherwise perfect.
"I felt pretty confident out there, felt pretty confident before the game. My catcher, Alex Swim, and I had a great game plan and I just stuck with it," he said. "I'm always confident when I take the mound, but tonight I knew I just felt good, bullpen felt good and I was just really excited to get out there and get the win."
The excitement didn't end with the final out. Slegers was told by Miracle center fielder Jason Kanzler that he had to return to the dugout for a postgame interview.
"I immediately found out no one was waiting for an interview, but a large bucket of ice that Niko [Goodrum] threw on me, which was a lot of fun," he said with a laugh. "The whole team was pretty happy for me, so it was a lot of fun."
Goodrum -- the Twins' 27th-ranked prospect -- drew a one-out walk in the second, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored the only run Slegers needed on Marcus Knecht's base hit. Alex Swim added a two-run single an inning later.
Brevard County starter Eric Marzec (0-2) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk while fanning four in six frames.