Savannah's Gabriel Ynoa had maintained strong strikeout and walk numbers throughout his seven starts coming into Monday's outing, but hadn't quite been to put it all together and be able to avoid being touched up for a few hits and runs consistently.
He'd done it in his first start of the season, a five-inning one-hit effort against Rome. And he'd also been on the extreme opposite end, surrendering five runs on eight hits -- four of them home runs -- in five innings two starts ago, against Hickory on May 7.
On Monday, he had the form he displayed in his season opener.
Ynoa (5-2) yielded just two hits and two walks while striking out seven over six scoreless frames to lead the Class A Sand Gnats past the Charleston RiverDogs, 5-2.
"I was pretty much getting ahead in the count and then working from there," said Ynoa through Nelfi Zapata, a catcher on the Sand Gnats who served as interpreter. "Once I can get ahead in the count, I can work off my changeup and my slider."
Ynoa said he throws a four-seam, a two-seam fastball and a curveball in addition to the change and slider, which he used Monday as his primary strikeout pitch.
The Dominican Republic native, who turns 20 on Sunday, was one of the more prolific pitchers in the Class A Short-Season New York -Penn League last season. With Brooklyn, Ynoa posted a 5-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in 76 2/3 innings. He struck out 64 and walked just 10.
The year before, with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets and Kingsport in the Appalachian League, he had a 3.21 ERA and 27 strikeouts while walking just four in 56 frames.
That same kind of command has been evident in his strikeout-to-walk ratio this season, even if it hasn't been quite as clear through his ERA.
The right-hander has 44 punchouts to nine walks and a 3.55 ERA over 45 2/3 innings. His five wins have him tied with four others in the South Atlantic League for most victories. His 1.05 WHIP ranks eighth.
The 2009 international signing by the Mets has evenly split his eight starts with four efforts that yielded three or more runs and four in which he limited his opponent to two or less.
"I'm pretty much working on being consistent," he said. "[The season] overall has been good, but I need to keep working on things and it'll get better."
Offensively, first baseman Cole Frenzel fueled the Sand Gnats, going 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.
Ninth-ranked Yankees prospect Dante Bichette Jr. went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored for the RiverDogs.