WINSTON SALEM, N.C. – It was the type of first impression former FGCU baseball star and Chicago White Sox first round selection Chris Sale was looking to make.
With Winston-Salem leading 4-2, Sale entered the game in the eighth and tossed a scoreless inning to help the Dash pick up a series-clinching win over the Potomac Nationals in front of a record-breaking crowd of 7,268 fans at BB&T Ballpark on Friday night.
After signing a contract that included a 1.656 million dollar signing bonus on June 22, Sale tossed 10 strikes out of his 15 total pitches in his first relief appearance for the Dash, a Class A Advanced affiliate of the White Sox. Sale’s 10 strikes helped induce a pair of ground outs and a pop out. Sale was one of three pitchers that combined on a three-hitter.
Sale, Collegiate Baseball's National Player of the Year, the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year, a finalist for the College Baseball Foundation's Pitcher of the Year award, and a finalist for the 2010 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (GSA), has been named an All-American by five different outlets (Ping!Baseball, Louisville Slugger, Yahoo! Sports, Baseball America, ABCA/Rawlings).
The 21-year-old produced amazing numbers in 2010 to help the Eagles clinch their third consecutive Atlantic Sun regular season title. Sale finished his junior season with an 11-0 record, two saves and a 2.01 ERA in 17 appearances. He also racked up 146 strikeouts with just 14 walks for a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10.4-to-1 for the year.
Sale’s dominance on the mound was evident by his top 15 ranking in the nation in five different statistical categories. The Lakeland, Fla. product finished fourth in the country in overall strikeouts (146), fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (12.76), eighth in ERA (2.01), 10th in walks allowed per nine innings (1.22) and 13th in wins (11).