ACES HIGH: Winston-Salem right-hander Matt Heidenreich outdueled sharp but unlucky Sox starter Matt Barnes, as the Dash avoided a sweep with a 1-0 victory Thursday in front of 2,492 at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
NO FLOW: The Sox managed just four hits against Heidenreich, a fourth round pick of the White Sox in 2009.
“Had a little jerky motion and he was throwing any pitch in any count,” said Salem’s Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 1 for 3. “None of his speeds were really consistent. His fastball might be faster one pitch, and then it would be 4 mph slower the next pitch. He was really keeping us off balance.”
INITIAL LOOK: Barnes impressed in his first start at Salem Memorial Ballpark, allowing one run on five hits over six innings. Topping out at 98 mph on the stadium gun, he struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.
“He’s a very composed and confident pitcher on the mound,” said Salem pitching coach Kevin Walker, adding that Barnes’ priority at this level is refining his offspeed pitches. “First and foremost, he’s got a really good fastball, and he pitches well with it both inside and out…He’s a special kid and a special talent.”
CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL: Still, the 2011 first round draft pick out of UConn was tagged with a hard-luck loss – his first in five decisions as a pro. The Dash got their run in the sixth off consecutive doubles by Nick Ciolli and Juan Silverio.
MOVIN’ ON UP: Outfielder Shannon Wilkerson was promoted to Double-A Portland after playing 140 games at Salem over two seasons. This year, the speedy eighth round pick was hitting .329 and was 16-for-16 on stolen base attempts.
Replacing him on the Salem roster is Matt Marquis, a 41st round pick out of Maryland last season. Marquis, who was hitting .212 at Greenville, batted eighth Thursday and went 0 for 3.
LOOSE ENDS: Salem’s lead in the Southern Division standings was trimmed to a half-game over the Dash…First baseman Drew Hedman was the only Sox player with multiple hits, collecting two for the second straight day.
ON DECK: The Sox travel to Frederick to open a three-game series at 7 tonight. Salem LHP Drake Britton (1-5, 7.15) opposes Keys LHP Trent Howard (1-0, 1.80).
-Barnes was a little inconsistent with his curve tonight but definitely has a good yakker. He threw one to Michael Earley leading off the third inning that prompted a helpless third-strike swing.
-Skipper Billy McMillon says leftfielder Brandon Jacobs, who is on the DL with a hand injury, is “close” to coming back. He’s eligible to return from the DL Saturday, when the Sox face Dylan Bundy in Frederick, but it’s unclear yet whether he’ll be in the lineup.
-Happy for Wilkerson. A well-deserved promotion for a guy who outworks just about everybody. If you missed my feature on him last week, here it is.
-This will no doubt be the lead quote in Saturday’s Sox report, but since you stopped by I’ll give it to you now. Jackie Bradley Jr., on facing Bundy on Saturday: “The legend here is that he struck out a batter on only two pitches.”
-Jokes aside, Bradley says he’s looking forward to the challenge. He said the college equivalent to Bundy in terms of hype and air of invincibility would have been UCLA’s Gerrit Cole, who went first overall to the Pirates last year.
-In 2010, Cole gave up a career-high 11 hits and six runs to Bradley’s South Carolina Gamecocks in a 7-1 loss in the first game of the best-of-three College World Series finals.
-Nice to hang with Rick H for a few innings tonight. I can confirm that he was drinking a frosty one — along with 2,491 of his closest friends.