Without one strikeout, Wolff dominates

Rangers' No. 18 prospect allows two hits over six scoreless innings

Sam Wolff is tied for the Carolina League lead in wins (six) and ranks sixth in ERA (2.78). (Robert Gurganus/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

By Mark Emery / MiLB.com | June 8, 2014 11:04 PM ET

Sam Wolff's pitching line Sunday had every characteristic of a dominant day at the ballpark except one.

Starting for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, the Rangers' No. 18 prospect allowed only two hits over six scoreless innings against visiting Frederick. He issued just two walks as the Pelicans avoided a sweep with a 7-4 victory. So what was missing?

Strikeouts. The right-hander didn't record a single one.

"I wasn't avoiding them," Wolff said. "To me, outs are outs, whether it's a strikeout or a groundout or a flyout, whatever. I was just happy that I was able to go a little bit deeper into the game and keep us in it."

The 2013 sixth-round pick allowed singles to Tucker Nathans in the first and Lucas Herbst in the sixth. He handed leadoff free passes to Michael Burgess in the second and Jason Esposito in the sixth.

Between the two walks, he retired 12 batters in a row.

"I felt real comfortable on the mound," Wolff said. "I had my off-speed working pretty well. My changeup and my curveball, I was throwing them for strikes.

"More than anything, [I was] just attacking the strike zone, trying to get results earlier in the account rather than getting in deep counts."

To be as effective as the 23-year-old was without the benefits of strikeouts, a pitcher must have great defense behind him, and Wolff said that was certainly the case in the win.

He improved to 6-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.78. The South Dakota native is tied for the Carolina League in wins and ranks sixth in ERA.

Additionally, his .205 opponents' average ranks second and his 1.10 WHIP is tied for third. On average per nine innings, he has dealt with 10.02 base runners, the third-best rate in the league.

"It's always nice to see that or see the results fall into place for you," Wolff said. "But I try to stray away from being too result-oriented and really just trying to stick with the process that we're working on."

The University of New Mexico product has turned in back-to-back scoreless starts and limited the opposition to two hits in three straight outings.

"I'm hoping to keep doing what I'm doing and let my defense work behind me," he said, "just pounding the zone, and like I said, getting outs however they do come."

Preston Beck launched his sixth home run, a two-run shot in the seventh. Texas' top prospect, Jorge Alfaro, and Nick Vickerson also plated two apiece for the Pelicans.

For the Keys, Zane Chavez and Branden Webb hit back-to-back jacks in the ninth.

With Frederick making a run late, Myrtle Beach reliever Abel De Los Santos recorded one out in the ninth for his fourth save of the season.

Mark Emery is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Emery. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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