Potomac Cannons starter Patrick Coogan held the Wilmington Blue Rocks to two runs in the first four innings but ran into trouble in the fifth last night en route to a 9-4 Class A Carolina League loss before 5,359 at Pfitzner Stadium.
Coogan rejoined the Cannons (24-45) in late May after continuing his rehabilitation from offseason shoulder surgery at the St. Louis Cardinals' spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla. But since then, he has posted an 0-4 record in five starts with an earned run average of more than eight.
"I don't feel any pain in my shoulder at all," Coogan said. "I don't have all my arm strength back yet, and I'm struggling more with my confidence in my fastball."
Last night Coogan pitched relatively well until Rafael Torres doubled to score Joe Dillon and Dave Willis in the fifth inning to give the Blue Rocks a 6-1 lead.
Wilmington (38-31) never looked back, following the lead of starting pitcher Jeff Austin (6-1), who yielded six hits and one earned run in five innings. He walked two and struck out two.
Austin is in his first year of professional baseball after being drafted fourth overall in last year's June draft by the Kansas City Royals. Playing for Stanford, he was selected the college player of the year by Baseball America. Austin is among the Carolina League leaders in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched.
Box scores on Page D14