By Adam Gore/ICC Sports Information Department
Playing in the shadow of the team that drafted him in 2008, former ICC and North Pontotoc standout Chris Hilliard has written his name into Brooklyn baseball lore.
The 23-year-old left-hander pitched five innings of three-hit shutout baseball on Monday night as the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones beat the Aberdeen Ironbirds 5-4.
It was the 11th victory in a Cyclones uniform for Hilliard, setting a record for the minor-league franchise that started play in 2001.
“It’s really special,” Hilliard told the New York Daily News about setting the franchise record. “I was kind of glad I got held back and got a chance to break it this year.
Hilliard started the season with the St. Lucie Mets of the Advanced Class A Florida State League before being sent back to Brooklyn after suffering a toe injury.
Monday’s game was Hilliard’s first start of the season. He’s now 11-2 in a Cyclones uniform, including a 9-1 record in 14 starts last season.
Monday’s win improves his minor-league record to 15-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 42 games (21 starts) since his first appearance in 2008.
Hilliard was selected by the New York Mets in the 38th round of the 2008 MLB Draft. It’s just 24 miles from the Cyclones’ stadium, MCU Park, to the Mets’ home, Citi Field.
Brooklyn, one of the five boroughs of New York City, was home to the Dodgers until their departure for Los Angeles after the 1957 season.