Columbus pitcher Christian Lesteiro said he has yet to receive interest from college baseball programs even though his senior season’s wrapping up.
Those college coaches must be watching different games than everyone else because after a complete-game shutout at home Tuesday in a 4-0 GMAC quarterfinal win over Hialeah, Lesteiro is 7-1 with an ERA around 2.00.
Columbus (18-5) advances to a semifinal against South Dade on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Lesteiro only struck out three Thoroughbreds, but allowed just seven to reach base. He walked three, hit a batter and surrendered three hits — two of which were bunt singles.
Battling a blister on his right middle finger, he pitched to contact against aggressive T-bred hitters.
“Early in the counts I was working off my fastball,” Lesteiro said. “I used the slider more with two strikes, and then curveball is just more get me over.”
Lesteiro induced three inning-ending double plays, including one in the seventh that finished off Hialeah (17-6) with the tying run on deck.
“That’s huge, especially when you’re fighting a blister,” Lesteiro said. “You want to get it out of there as fast as possible. That was my key. I had to bear down on some pitches and get a groundball there.”
The Explorers were able to manufacture their runs against heralded Hialeah starter Alexis Herrera.
Nos. 8 and 9 hitters Gil Torres and Raymond Quintero had back-to-back RBI singles in the second inning after Danny Diaz — who finished 2 for 3 — led off the inning with a double.
In the fourth Columbus scored two more off Herrera — first on a wild pitch and then on a bases-loaded walk.
“Our approach quite often is to make pitchers work, make their pitch counts get up and try to get into bullpens,” Columbus coach Joe Weber said. “He had to throw quite a few pitches today, and toward the end it looked like he was getting tired.”
The Explorers will start Bryan Garcia against the Buccaneers on Wednesday.
COLUMBUS 4, HIALEAH 0
WP: Christian Lesteiro (7-1). LP: Alexis Herrera.