BELOIT, Wis. - Some pitchers strike out the side. Kelly Wunsch of the Beloit Brewers did a whole lot better.
The left-hander, a 26th-round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in last June's free-agent draft, became only the third person - and the first in 42 years - to strike out five batters in an inning.
It happened last Friday in the third inning of a Class A Midwest League game at Beloit's Pohlman Field. The Brewers lost to Springfield 7-3.
All it took was two wild pitches - both curveballs - on third strikes.
"I was kind of laughing when it happened," Wunsch said yesterday. "I didn't know it was anything special."
Lloyd Johnson, editor of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, searched a computer database and found only two other occasions when pitchers have struck out five in an inning:
-- Ron Necciai of Bristol in the Appalachian League against Johnson City on May 17, 1952.
-- John Perkovitsh of Wisconsin Rapids against Oshkosh in a Wisconsin State League game on May 17, 1946.
No major-league pitcher has struck out five in an inning. Wunsch is the only starter among the three pitchers to do it, Johnson said.
Wunsch's third inning went like this:
-- Walked Darrick Duke, who advanced to third on an error while stealing a base.
-- Struck out Roy McKinnis (one out).
-- Struck out John Fantauczi (two outs).
-- Gave up a double to Juan Epinal, run scored.
-- Struck out Erik Corps, who reached first on a wild pitch.
-- Struck out Earl Johnson, but another wild pitch allowed him to reach first. Another run scored.
-- Struck out Eduardo Cuevas to end the inning.
Wunsch took the loss, allowing five earned runs in four innings.
"At least I have a record," said Wunsch, who was drafted out Texas A&M.