LIMA — Zach Graveno gave the Lima Locos bullpen just what it needed.
He gave the pen a well-earned day of rest.
Graveno (Mercer) fired a complete-game 2-0, three-hit victory over Lorain County Thursday at Simmons Field. The game took a tidy one hour, 57 minutes.
Graveno wasn’t overpowering but had pinpoint control of his fastball. In nine innings, he gave up three hits, struck out five and walked one.
Graveno threw 105 pitches, 70 for strikes.
“It was a matter of spotting it (the fastball) tonight,” Graveno said. “It was moving a lot and had a lot of sink. I was busting kids in and changing speeds every now and again. I didn’t throw a lot of offspeed stuff, just to a couple of batters.’’
Graveno said he threw about 80 percent fastballs.
“He threw a lot of strikes,” Locos coach Brian Garman said. “He was very efficient and really threw the ball well. And we saved our bullpen tonight with four games (against Grand Lake) over the weekend.’’
The Locos (16-5), who have won five in a row, are in the first place by 4 ½ games in the Central Division. Lorain County is 7-16.
The Locos are 4-2 against Lorain this season, with two more games to play.
Graveno (2-0) was never in trouble the whole night. He gave up a single to lead off the game, another single in the fourth and the final single in the fifth.
Over the final four innings, he allowed only one base runner, on an error. He struck out two in the eighth and two more in the ninth.
“I felt a little tired out there, but I kept pounding through it,” Graveno said. “I guess you could say I got stronger. I was just throwing strikes.’’
He had thrown 94 pitches threw eight innings and the word from the bench came that he would head back out for the ninth.
“They just said, ‘Finish it,’ ’’ Graveno said. “I was very efficient tonight, so I was glad they let me go back out.’’
The Locos scored an unearned run in the first. Garrett Hodges singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on an error. That gave the Locos a 1-0 lead.
The Locos made it 2-0 in the fifth. Will Kilgore double to center-field fence. Kilgore took third on a wild pitch, then came home on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
Hodges went 2 for 4 for the Locos.
Lorain’s Tyler Gault had command of his breaking ball in his start. He went six innings and gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits. He struck out five and walked three. Gault threw 101 pitches, 63 for strikes.
“I was a little disappointed in our two errors and we only got four hits against a guy I feel like we should have hit, who we have seen for the third or fourth time,” Garman said. “We were a little flat, offensively, didn’t play our best, defensively, so we needed a start like that out of Graveno.’’
The Locos got a lift from shortstop Parker Upton, who was filling in for all-everything shortstop Tyler Tolbert, who received a rare night off. Upton made four plays on the night.
Locos notes: Outfielder Ross Adolph (Toledo), who played for the Locos last season, will be cleared to play next Thursday. He’s coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery. He started taking batting practice this week. … Locos outfielder Will Robertson (Creighton) will miss the rest of the season with a broken bone in his right hand. He had been playing through the injury since January. The original injury didn’t show up on the X-rays he had at Creighton. For the Locos, he was hitting .292 and led the team in home runs (4) and RBI (18). Robertson was named to the freshman All-American team at Creighton. … Locos right-hander Jack Schaller (Ohio Northern) has been out with tightness in his right shoulder. … Left-hander Austin Gridley (UNOH) has started throwing after being out with tendinitis in his left elbow. … The Locos have the best overall record in the GLCL at 16-5.
Up next: On Saturday, the Locos will complete a suspended game (tied 0-0 in the fourth inning) against Grand Lake at 5 p.m. at Grand Lake. The Locos will then play the regular game at Grand Lake. … The Locos will play a makeup doubleheader against Grand Lake at 5 p.m. Sunday at Simmons Field. Both games will be seven innings.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.