Another round of Double-A hitters struggled to touch Greenbrier High School product Brandon Cumpton last week as the 23-year-old right-hander for the Altoona Curve turned in his finest performance of the season.
Cumpton, in his third year of pro ball, scattered four hits over eight shutout innings June 3 for his second consecutive win and team-leading seventh of the season. He silenced the Eastern League’s Portland Sea Dogs in a 2-0 win to top his previous start – a one-run, three-hit effort over seven innings in a victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels on May 29.
Cumpton’s eight scoreless innings marked a career high and lowered his ERA to 3.12 with a 7-4 record.
TWO IN ONE: On the same night Cumpton was mowing down Double-A hitters, former Augusta Christian star Josh Whitaker was tearing apart Advanced-A pitching.
The 23-year-old Stockton Ports outfielder turned in the first two-homer game of his professional career June 3 in a 10-6 win over the San Jose Giants in the California League.
Whitaker went 2 for 4 with three RBI and followed the performance with another home run two nights later. His third homer in three nights tied the game against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Tuesday.
SPEED AWARD: Former Augusta State star Shannon Wilkerson picked up another honor in what has become a successful fourth pro year.
The 23-year-old outfielder was named the Boston Red Sox minor league base runner of the month for May.
Wilkerson went 8 for 8 in stolen base attempts last month at the Advanced-A level before getting called up to Double-A. He has stolen 18 bases this season without being thrown out.
TIME TO SIGN: North Augusta High School product Marty Gantt can now fully concentrate on the start of his professional career after his college playing days came to an end last week with
College of Charleston’s loss in NCAA Division I Tournament play.
Gantt, selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round of the draft last week, wrapped up his college career last weekend when the Cougars were eliminated by Georgia Tech in the Gainesville Regional.
Gantt finished the season hitting a team-best .373 with 46 RBI after starting all 60 games.
WINGING IT: Former Augusta GreenJackets slugger C.J. Zeigler is still showing off his bat in the independent leagues.
The power-hitting first baseman, who played 31 games for Augusta in 2009 and was released after the season, has spent the past three years playing for three different independent league teams.
The 26-year-old signed with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association this season and helped make history last weekend.
The Wingnuts entered their June 2 game against Grand Prairie a win away from breaking a franchise record for consecutive wins, and Zeigler’s tie-breaking, walk-off solo homer in the 10th inning gave the Wingnuts their 10th win in a row.
Zeigler entered Saturday’s game hitting .309 with four homers and 20 RBI through 21 games.
BASEBALL BRACKET: A Minor League Baseball mascot contest has seen its field of 64 narrowed to eight, and a South Atlantic League representative is still alive.
Gnate the Gnat, the mascot of the Savannah Sand Gnats, moved into the quarterfinals after getting enough fan votes to beat Ozzie (Triple-A Nashville Sounds), Marty Marauder (Advanced-A Bradenton Marauders) and Sammy the Seagull (Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks) in the South regional.
Gnate is now competing against Phinley, the mascot of the Advanced-A Clearwater Threshers. Fans can vote at MiLB.com.