By TOMMY BRYAN, sports editor
In baseball, statistics are everything. Most folks say the numbers don’t lie, but in the case of Cumberland senior Aaron Wilkerson, the numbers are making a pretty good case for the native Texan to eventually go down as one of the best ever to take the mound in a Bulldog uniform.
Wilkerson (6-0) stretched his scoreless innings streak to 41.1 innings with seven shutout frames Saturday, March 26 in a 5-0 win over visiting Ottawa College (KS). The righthander allowed just four hits, walked two and struck out six, winning his 20th consecutive decision dating to February of 2010.
Only six baserunners reached against Wilkerson and only once did the Braves have two baserunners in an inning – singles from Josh Ragsdale and Jeff Montenegro in the fifth. His earned run average is a minuscule 0.41 through 44 innings.
He’s walked only nine batters this season with a team-high 42 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting a mere .130 against him with only 19 hits allowed.
"Wilkerson is definitely one of the best pitchers I have ever caught and the hands down the most consistent pitchers I have had the chance to work with," said CU catcher David Fanshawe.
"His ability to spot his fastball on both sides of the plate and locate his offspeed for strikes, is in my opinion, the reason why he is so difficult to hit. He can throw any pitch at any time in any count. He's one of those guys that doesnt care what game it is or in what situation he's in he never loses composure."
Career-wise, Wilkerson stands 20-1 overall and is in a three-way tie in ninth place with Shawn Schaefer (20-3) and Zach Whitmer (20-6) for most wins in a CU career. Both Schaefer and Whitmer were two-year pitchers at Cumberland.
Wilkerson is within striking distance of Jody Atwood (22-9 / 4 seasons) and Josh Underhill (22-6 / 3 seasons) on Cumberland’s all-time list.
“He’s the guy you want at the top of your rotation,” said Bulldog head coach Woody Hunt. “Aaron has been dominating for basically a year and a half. When he goes out there, our guys know they don’t need a bunch, just a couple of runs sometimes.”
Wilkerson is scheduled to take the mound Friday afternoon as Cumberland opens a three-game seriers with TranSouth Conference leading Union University. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Stockton Field.