TERRE HAUTE —
Derek Eitel made his first start for the Triple-A Reno Aces on Friday night, tossing six innings in a losing effort at Sacramento, Calif.
The Marshall, Ill., native and former baseball and football standout for Rose-Hulman is in his second year in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
Eitel allowed a second-inning, two-run home run to Andy LaRoche and one more earned run in the third against the Sacramento River Cats.
The Aces lost 4-2. Eitel scattered six hits in six innings, walking none and striking out five.
“I was real happy with it,” Eitel said Saturday. “There’s a lot of big league talent on that team so it’s a pretty good gauge of where I’m at. I know a lot of their guys have been in the big leagues and they’re one of the better-hitting teams in Triple-A.”
Eitel filled in for an injured starter at the last minute. Reno manager Brett Butler requested Eitel, who spent a few days in Reno to provide some help to the bullpen earlier this summer.
Eitel got the news from his pitching coach Doug Drabek after Thursday night’s game for Single-A Visalia.
“I was up there a few weeks ago. I impressed them enough to bring me back. They asked come back to have a start. That’s a pretty big compliment coming from a guy like that,” Eitel said.
Eitel threw 80 pitches, 49 of them for strikes.
“I went right at them. Pretty much all fastball slider, had a really good sinker. I had a 9 to 1 ground ball to fly ball ratio so I was doing what I like to do, letting my fielders work behind me,” he said.