Surkamp fans 10 in Squirrels' opener

Richmond left-hander's ERA descends to league-leading 2.00

Eric Surkamp registered his fourth career complete game Sunday. (Kevin Pataky/

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | July 24, 2011 5:09 PM

Double-A Richmond pitcher Eric Surkamp stayed hot Sunday, while his bullpen got to keep cool.

Estimating that his sweat-soaked jersey weighed a whopping 15 pounds near the end of his seven-inning complete game, Surkamp pushed Richmond past the Harrisburg Senators, 4-1. Gametime temperature at The Diamond was 90 degrees.

Surkamp (8-3) now has four complete games in 61 pro starts. Most recently, he tossed a nine-inning two-hit shutout for Class A Advanced San Jose against Bakersfield on May 16, 2010.

The starter's latest effort got off to an inauspicious beginning. He walked the game's first batter, Chris Rahl, and allowed a single to the second, Josh Johnson.

"I was a little shaky to start the game," Surkamp said. "I was trying to be too cute, nibbling too much."

Then the 24-year-old lefty produced his curveball and combined it with his fastball. The result? He retired 12 in a row prior to Devin Ivany's leadoff single in the fifth. Three batters later, Ivany scored on a Tim Pahuta-struck single -- the Senators' third and final base knock.

The strikeout was key. Surkamp has fanned 10 or more in three of his past four outings and is a strikeout behind Eastern League leaders Brad Peacock (Harrisburg) and Joel Carreno (New Hampshire) with 128 Ks in 108 innings. He tops his peers in ERA, checking in at even 2.00.

He retired Adam Fox and Ivany in the seventh on strikes before issuing his second base on balls to Sean Nicol. At 100 total pitches, Surkamp threw five more before inducing Chris McConnell's game-ending popout with his last one.

Surkamp's relievers remained in the 'pen.

"I kind of knew it was going to be my last batter, especially pitching in this humidity," he said of McConnell. "It takes it out of you.

"Today I used a lot more rosin than I ever had. Near the end, I was shaking it around, and I don't think there was anything left in it."

Surkamp seemed resigned to the fact that, despite his dominating pace at Double-A, he may not depart Richmond this year. The Giants' sixth-round draftee in 2008 spent 2009 at Class A Augusta, where he was 11-5 with a 3.30 ERA, and all of 2010 at San Jose (4-2, 3.11 ERA).

"Every time out, you want to pitch well," he said. "I don't throw 95 [mph], I have to pitch with what I have. I have to prove myself at every level."

Roger Kieschnick homered off of Senators reliever Cory VanAllen (3-2) in the fifth, and Surkamp bunted home Sharlon Schoop in the sixth.

Andrew Pentis 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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