Wilkerson spins hitless ball for Sky Sox

Brewers righty fans 11 in seven frames in Game 2 of PCL semis

Aaron Wilkerson notched 143 strikeouts in 142 1/3 innings in the Southern League this season. (Bobby Stevens/MiLB.com)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | September 8, 2017 2:52 AM

Making his first Triple-A start of the season in his first career postseason game, Aaron Wilkerson took Thursday's outing as an audition for "The Show."

And how did he do?

"I'll let the line speak for itself," he said.

That line was just about the baseball equivalent of hitting all the high notes in front of a Broadway producer. The Brewers right-hander spun seven hitless innings with one walk and 11 strikeouts as Colorado Springs blanked Memphis, 5-0, in AutoZone Park. The win evened the best-of-5 Pacific Coast League semifinals at one game apiece.

Video: Wilkerson caps seven hitless frames for Sky Sox

"It means a lot to me. I've spent an entire year in Double-A, and coming up and pitching well, I think it bodes well for me," Wilkerson said. "So we'll see how [a callup] plays out. I'm hoping for it, I'm pulling for it."

Box score

After going 11-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 24 starts for Biloxi, Wilkerson was promoted Wednesday to Triple-A, where he spent most of last season. The 28-year-old took advantage of observing the opposition in Game 1. He dominated from the start, striking out the side in the first inning.

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"I'm never trying to strike out the side, but I think it put it in the back of their mind that I'm here to compete and they have their work cut out for them," Wilkerson said. "I felt pretty good and I was able to throw any pitch in any situation, so I think that played out well. I got behind in the counts, and I was able to throw off-speed and not give in to hitters."

The Cumberland University fed off of being able to throw whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and gained confidence every inning. Aside from a leadoff walk to Jose Adolis Garcia in the third, he was flawless. And the Redbirds crowd made sure he knew that.

"I had fans screaming at me in between innings. I was up to bat and fans were like, 'Hey, you have a no-hitter,'" the Texas native recalled. "You try to block all that stuff out as much as you can, but in the downtime in between a pitch, you can hear that stuff every now and then. But you just stick to your game and stick to your gameplan."

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Wilkerson blocked it out as he reached double-digit strikeouts, which he has done three times in his career. The 6-foot-3 hurler didn't realize he reached 105 pitches, but it was time to exit stage left. Michael Blazek took over and allowed a leadoff walk to Aledmys Diaz, followed by a single by Patrick Wisdom that broke up the no-hitter.

Video: Redbirds' Wisdom breaks up no-no

"A no-hitter's tough. I was pulling for it as much as I could, but I'm happy that we got the win," Wilkerson said. "It was a good team win. I couldn't have gone seven no-hit without a great defense."

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Shortstop Yadiel Rivera went 3-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI, a run scored and a walk for the Sky Sox.

Game 3 moves to Colorado Springs with first pitch slated for 8 p.m. ET on Friday.

In other PCL playoff action:

Chihuahuas 7, Aces 2

San Diego infield prospect Dusty Coleman and Diego Goris homered to help El Paso take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 semifinals. Arizona No. 27 prospect Christian Walker went yard for Reno. Box score

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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