BELOIT - Reid Birlingmair is hitting his stride.
The Beloit Snappers starting pitcher put together his third straight outstanding start, allowing just one unearned run in 6 2-3 innings, though the Snappers ended up on the losing end of a 6-3, 10-inning battle with Burlington Monday night at Pohlman Field.
Birlingmair, a native of Normal, Ill., and a product of the University of Illinois-Chicago, has allowed just two earned runs in his last 17 2-3 innings of work.
Pitching coach Don Schulze said there have been a couple of factors in Birlingmair's resurgence.
"The first thing is he's going right after hitters," Schulze said. "He's just been solid every game. You're for sure going to get five, if not six innings. He's a quality start guy. And the biggest change is that now he's trusting his changeup. Early in the season, it was like pulling teeth trying to get him to throw one. Now, he's using that effectively."
"I've been going out there, trusting my stuff and letting it play," Birlingmair said. "It's really been over the last five outings or so that I've turned the corner. The changeup has been a big pitch for me, and today my slider was sharp as well."
Birlingmair's leash was fairly long Monday night, a rarity in Midwest League play. He came back out for the seventh inning with a 3-0 lead, worked around a single and an error while retiring two hitters before sitting down for the evening after throwing 96 pitches.
"I thought I might be done after the sixth," Birlingmair said. "But he told me heading into the inning I had 11 pitches left. I don't know how many I threw in that last inning, but it felt good to have that trust to go back out there."
Turner said it was no secret why Birlingmair was able to extend his outing.
"If you've got a guy that's out there rolling and he's still under his pitch count, why not stay with him," Turner said. "He's earned the right to be out there. And our bullpen was a little short-handed tonight as well, so there were a couple of factors."
The Snappers scored single runs in each of the first two innings to establish an early advantage. Skyler Weber singled home a run in the first inning, and Joseph Pena doubled home a run down the line to make it 2-0 in the second.
Beloit went up 3-0 in the fifth when Weber singled home another run. The Bees scored their first run in the seventh inning thanks in large measure to a throwing error on an attempted force out by second baseman Joseph Pena.
Burlington tied the game at 3-3 in the eighth inning when Jordyn Adams launched a two-run homer against Josh Reagan.
The Bees secured the victory with three runs in the 10th, with the big blow against Snappers reliever Calvin Coker being a two-run double by Kevin Maitan.
The Snappers will try to stop their three-game losing streak when the two teams meet in the finale of their three-game series Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.