Aaron Wilkerson was dominant for the Grand Prairie AirHogs on Wednesday evening. The right-handed pitcher struck out eight hitters and scattered three hits and a run over seven innings against the first-place Wichita Wingnuts as the AirHogs won 5-4.
Now, that start is more than just a big AirHogs win. It is Wilkerson’s sendoff to affiliated baseball. The Boston Red Sox have purchased Wilkerson’s contract and assigned him to the Short Season Class A Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League. The Spinners will begin a series at the Auburn Doubledays in Auburn, New York on Sunday.
On the 2014 season, Wilkerson is 3-1 with a 3.54 ERA. He has started 12 games and struck out 77 over 73 and 2/3 innings with only 31 walks. The eight punchouts on Wednesday were his third-highest total of the season, as he recorded 10 strikeouts in seven innings on June 30 in a win over the Sioux City Explorers. Wilkerson also fanned nine hitters in a no-decision on June 20 against the Amarillo Sox.
His first win of the season came on May 30 at Amarillo when he struck out seven in six innings, allowing two earned runs in a 5-4 win. One June 8, Wilkerson recorded victory no. 2 by throwing five and 1/3 shutout innings against Wichita while striking out six. Wilkerson had at least four strikeouts in each of his 12 starts in 2014.
Wilkerson made three starts with the AirHogs in 2013, going 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA. In the 2013 postseason, he took a no-decision after throwing seven shutout innings against Wichita on Sept. 4.
The former Cumberland University player also played with the Frontier League’s Florence Freedom and the United League’s Fort Worth Cats in 2013. He had a combined record of 10-2 with a 2.96 ERA between the three clubs.
In 2011, Wilkerson was an NAIA First-Team All-American at Cumberland. He was 12-0 with a miniscule 1.49 ERA. He struck out 90 hitters and walked only 22 in 90 1/3 innings that year.
Wilkerson becomes the second AirHog to be sold in 2014 after RHP Caesar Lopez went to the Atlanta Braves in early June.