MIDLAND Parker Dunshee pitched seven shutout innings and the Midland RockHounds scratched out enough offense Monday to beat Tulsa 4-0 at Security Bank Ballpark in the opener of their Texas League series.
Midland remained a game back of Frisco in the South Division standings with the victory. It was the RockHounds’ first outing against an opponent other than Frisco or Amarillo.
Three of Midland’s runs were unearned thanks to three Tulsa errors, but Dunshee and relievers Trey McNutt and Kyle Finnegan kept the Drillers from ever mounting a serious threat.
“Parker set the tone tonight, pitching an outstanding game,” RockHounds manager Scott Steinmann said. “Being very efficient with his pitches got him through the seventh for us, which allowed us to go to some of those strong guys in the pen, and they did their job of shutting it down.”
Dunshee (1-2) scattered four hits, all singles, while walking two and striking out six. He allowed only one runner as far as second base.
Dunshee said getting the first strike and first out were two big factors. He threw 70 of his 97 pitches for strikes, getting ahead in the count early, and retired the leadoff man four times.
“That’s something I haven’t done so well to this point in the season, but I was definitely conscious of that tonight,” said Dunshee, who lowered his ERA more than a run to 2.35. “They were aggressive, too, so that kind of helped keep the game flowing and keep the pitch count down. I knew if I made some pitches, they were aggressive, and I was able to make a lot of pitches tonight.”
Chase Calabuig was 2 for 3 with an RBI, while Luke Persico, Nate Mondou and Kevin Merrell also drove in runs for Midland, which scored once each in the third, fourth, seventh and eighth. The RockHounds scored twice without getting a hit in the inning.
“Four one-run innings, we had to scratch and claw for those runs,” Steinmann said. “We faced a couple of guys who were pretty good out there. We did just enough to come away with the W.”
Merrell reached on an error to lead off the third, stole second and moved up on a wild pitch before scoring on Persico’s groundout.
Mikey White led off the fourth with a single and scored on Merrell’s two-out single.
In the seventh, Merrell was hit by a pitch with two outs and picked off, but reached second on Jared Walker’s throwing error. Two batters later, Calabuig singled to right to drive in the run.
In the eighth, Greg Deichmann was hit by a pitch to start and White reached on a dropped fly ball that went for a two-base error. Mondou followed with a sacrifice fly.
Tulsa starter Dustin May (1-1) was charged with two runs, only one earned, on three hits over five innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Tulsa’s Cristian Santana went 2 for 3 with singles in the second and fifth, but Dunshee allowed only one other baserunner in between. Walks to Omar Estevez in the fourth and sixth were erased when Keibert Ruiz hit into double plays. The sixth was Tulsa’s best scoring chance as Walker led off with a hit and Estevez walked with one out.
Dunshee gave up a leadoff single to D.J. Peters in the seventh before retiring the next three batters. McNutt and Finnegan each worked a perfect inning to close it out.
“It was just a really clean game overall from our side,” Dunshee said. “It wasn’t necessarily loud offensively, but we found a way to get some runs. The defense was really good behind us, and that’s how you win baseball games.”