Corey Oswalt said he felt pretty good about his first start of the season.
It’s safe to say he likely felt even better about the second one.
Oswalt, who gave up three runs in four innings on Opening Day, followed that up by throwing five strong innings and giving up just a hit in the Las Vegas 51s’ 7-1 victory over El Paso on Friday night at Southwest University Park.
“Oswalt definitely was the star,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “Five innings, seven strikeouts, complete control. (He was) aggressive in the zone.”
The righty made his first trip to the majors in between his two starts but did not pitch in a game before being sent back down to Triple-A. Friday marked his first outing since April 5.
“(He was) more aggressive with his fastball,” DeFrancesco said. “His breaking ball was decent at times. He did walk three batters but he made some pitches when he had to. He had a real good changeup working also today. I think just going to the big leagues and seeing what they’re doing there boosted a bunch of confidence for him out there.”
Oswalt pitched with the lead all night as the 51s (3-6) struck in the first inning for the fourth straight game.
Ty Kelly, who was 7-for-10 with seven extra-base hits in his last two games, continued his hot streak, doubling with one out in the inning. He scored when Bryce Brentz beat out an infield single to give Las Vegas its first run of the game.
The very next batter, David Thompson, singled to right, plating Zach Borenstein for the team’s second run.
“It seems like we’ve been scoring early the last couple games and we got on the board again,” DeFrancesco said.
Las Vegas added another run in the fifth inning when catcher Colton Plaia scored on a Chris Huffman wild pitch and tacked on four runs in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach.
Gavin Cecchini gave the 51s an insurance run with an RBI single to bump the Las Vegas lead to three. A Matt den Dekker single to left and a Kelly single to left drove in a combined three more runs.
The Chihuahuas (5-4) had gotten to within two runs after they scored one in the bottom of the eighth off Corey Taylor.
Taylor, making his first Triple-A appearance, pitched well in his outing, throwing two scoreless innings. He allowed a double to lead off the eighth inning which wound up coming around to score after he departed, but Kyle Regnault and Logan Taylor threw each threw a scoreless inning to lock down the 51s’ second straight victory.
“(It was) a pretty good team win today,” DeFrancesco said.