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Lakewood’s Leftwich Dazzles Legends

Luke Leftwich pitched the host Lakewood BlueClaws past the Lexington (Ky.) Legends 2-0 in South Atlantic League action in front of 3,810 fans at FirstEnergy Park on Tuesday night.

Leftwich (5-3) hurled a professional career-high eight innings, striking out eight, walking none and surrendering five hits for the Philadelphia Phillies’ low Class A farm club. The owner of a 2.43 earned run average, the right-hander threw 100 pitches, including 62 strikes.

Leftwich’s outing came one start after he pitched seven innings for the first time as a professional. He moved into second in the league in strikeouts (70) Tuesday night.

The Phillies drafted Leftwich on the seventh round last June out of Wofford College (S.C.). He’s a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder.

It was the second straight win for Lakewood (22-35) in the series against the Legends (22-35), a Kansas City Royals affiliate.

Edgar Garcia worked the ninth, getting Ben Johnson to fly to center field to end the game. Garcia, 19, earned his first SAL save.

Lakewood took a 1-0 first-inning lead as Jiandido Tromp tripled with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Tobias, who learned earlier Tuesday he was named an SAL mid-season All-Star.

Leftwich wriggled out of a second-inning jam as the Legends put two runners on base with one out. However, the Phoenix resident escaped the inning. He proceeded to find his groove, at one point retiring eight straight batters into the sixth inning.

In the seventh, Lexington’s Anderson Miller singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Leftwich struck out Marten Gasperini to end the inning.

Lakewood took a 2-0 lead in the eighth, touching Emilio Ogando for a run. Jan Hernandez reached on an error to start the inning and scored on a double down the right-field line by Deivi Grullon.

Ogando (4-5) pitched seven-plus innings, allowing three hits, striking out eight and walking one.

Lakewood, hoping to sweep its three-game series against the Legends, will send right-hander Harold Arauz (1-4) to the mound against righty Scott Blewitt (3-5) at 11:05 a.m. Wednesday.

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