Freeport native Justin Dunn realized a dream Aug. 10 when he recorded the first win of his Major League Baseball pitching career.
Dunn, a former first-round draft pick of the New York Mets, went six innings for the first time in seven career starts to help the Seattle Marines to a 10-2 victory over the Texas Rangers at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington. He allowed two runs on seven hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts on the way to evening his record on the year to 1-1.
“It was a surreal moment and a dream come true,” said Dunn, who was traded to Seattle prior to the 2019 season as part of the Robinson Cano deal with the Mets. “It’s great to contribute to the team and also to get the monkey off my back,” he added.
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Mariners’ No. 8 prospect, Dunn was staked to a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning when Kyle Lewis launched a three-run homer. The 24-year-old right-hander worked out of trouble in the bottom of the fifth after Texas put the tying runs on base with no outs, striking out Willie Calhoun and Joey Gallo before getting Todd Frazier to fly out.
Seattle provided Dunn with five insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Dunn, who threw 90 pitches, allowed two hits in the bottom of the inning but retired Shin-Soo Choo on a grounder to shortstop for the final out.
“The fifth inning was the game,” Dunn said. “I saw the finish line. I laid it all on the line and gave whatever I had left. We emphasize a shutdown inning after we score and that’s all I had on my mind.”
Dunn made his MLB debut with the Mariners last season and appeared in four games, including one start. He logged 6 2/3 innings and allowed only two runs on two hits. “It’s a blessing to be in the majors,” he said. “I’m just fortunate to be playing baseball and have some normalcy in my life.”
At the collegiate level, Dunn was primarily a relief pitcher at Boston College until the latter part of his junior campaign. He thrived as a starter while helping lead the Eagles to a 35-22 record and their first regional title in program history. In six regular-season starts, he went 3-1 with a 1.22 earned run average, 32 strikeouts and 12 walks. He also had a win and two saves out of the bullpen that season.
Dunn, who as a youngster played in the Baldwin Little League as well as travel baseball for the Freeport Red Devils, became the fourth Boston College player ever to be drafted in the first round when the Mets selected him No. 19 overall in 2016.