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Holmberg extends scoreless streak

Hawks' lefty has not allowed a run in 27 innings over four starts
June 16, 2011
David Holmberg is dominating the Midwest League and carrying the South Bend Silver Hawks with him.

Holmberg outlasted Sean Nolin in a pitchers' duel to win for the seventh time in eight starts and extend his scoreless streak to 27 innings Wednesday night as the Silver Hawks beat the Lansing Lugnuts, 5-2.

Holmberg was a second-round pick by the White Sox in 2009 whom the Diamondbacks acquired -- along with Dan Hudson -- for Edwin Jackson last summer. On Wednesday, the southpaw allowed only two hits while striking out 10 over seven innings. He did not walk a batter.

The last run Holmberg gave up came on May 22 at Great Lakes. Since then, he held Dayton to three hits over five innings, Quad Cities to two hits in a nine-inning shutout and Burlington to two hits over six frames. Add in Wednesday gem and he's given up nine hits while striking out 24 and walking one over 27 shutout innings in his last four starts.

"I've been working on some things on the side with our pitching coach and I've been able to get outs with all my pitches lately -- fastball, slider, curve, changeup," Holmberg said. "Things are going really well right now, obviously."

His streak ran into a slight delay Wednesday as the game was held up by rain for just under 2 1/2 hours and did not begin until around 9:30 p.m. The wait did not seem to affect either starting pitcher.

"They told us there would be a delay about 45 minutes before game time, then would come back every half-hour or so and push it back," Holmberg said. "I just hung out in the clubhouse and tried not to waste energy."

Silver Hawks leadoff man Ender Inciarte opened the game with a bunt single but was erased when Michael Freeman grounded into a double play. That was South Bend's only hit until the seventh as Nolin faced just one batter over the minimum while fanning seven over six shutout frames.

Holmberg struck out the first four Lugnuts he faced before giving up a single to Kevin Nolan in the second. After Carlos Perez fanned, Nolan was caught stealing.

Nolan reached again on an error in the fifth and K.C. Hobson legged out an infield hit in the sixth for Lansing, but both were doubled up. Thanks to the double plays and Nolan getting caught on the basepaths, Holmberg finished his seven frames having faced the minimum 21 Lugnuts.

Neither bullpen was as effective as the starters. Marcus Walden came on for Lansing in the seventh and allowed four unearned runs on four hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. Shawn Griffith gave up an insurance run on a pair of hits in the ninth.

South Bend's Blake Cooper took over from Holmberg in the eighth but yielded two runs on three hits and a walk. After the clubs combined for three hits through the first six frames, they collected seven -- and six runs -- in the seventh and eighth.

Jeremy Erben struck out two in a perfect ninth to earn his fifth save for the Silver Hawks.

Walden (1-2) took the loss. The former ninth-round pick has given up at least one run in each of his last six outings.

Inciarte and Roberto Ortiz both doubled and singled for the Silver Hawks, while Nolan had two of Lansing's five hits and leads the club with a .338 average.

South Bend had lost four in a row since Holmberg's last start and sit in fifth place in the Midwest League Eastern Division with a 32-33 record.

The loss dropped the Lugnuts a half-game behind first-place Bowling Green, which has won seven in a row, in the East.

John Parker is a contributor to