Chris Beck was honored Friday as one of the best pitchers in the Carolina League. A few hours later, he proved he deserved the honor.
The White Sox No. 11 prospect pitched a five-hitter and struck out seven en route to his first career complete-game shutout as Class A Advanced Winston-Salem defeated Wilmington, 5-0.
Beck (6-6) threw only 90 pitches and faced two batters over the minimum. After allowing a one-out single in the first inning to Jack Lopez, he retired 10 straight Blue Rocks before Cheslor Cuthbert led off the fifth with a single.
"It was really just trusting everything," Beck said. "I threw my two-seamer a lot tonight, took some off and added some on when I needed to get early contact or to get swing-overs. My slider was a lot better than it has been in the past tonight."
The Dash gave Beck all the support he needed early, scoring five times in the bottom of the first.
"It's really hard not to pitch with confidence after your offense swings the bat like that for you," the 22-year-old right-hander said. "I was just trying to get ahead early in the count. I wasn't worrying about punching the guy out, I was more or less giving a chance to let my defense work, and they did a fabulous job. "
Beck, who tied the career high for strikeouts he set on Aug. 7, 2012 for Rookie-level Great Falls, recorded 10 outs on the ground, including a pair of double plays.
"[Second baseman Joey] DeMichele and [shortstop Chris] Curley rolled a couple of double plays and [third baseman Jeremy] Farrell did as well," the Georgia Southern product said. "Courtney Hawkins ran down a couple of balls in the outfield that were definitely extra bases. The defense, I have to give a lot of credit to them, and Kevan Smith, he called an awesome game behind the plate."
Beck recorded his fourth straight win and grabbed a share of the Carolina League lead with six. He ranks sixth in the circuit with a 2.79 ERA and is the only pitcher in the league to toss a nine-inning complete-game shutout this season. Earlier Friday, Beck was named to the All-Star team.
"You can't be an All-Star without a great team behind you and a great coaching staff and great fan support," he said. "It's been great playing for a great organization, great managers, great teammates. This year has been such a blessing so far. I just hope to keep it rolling through the All-Star break and see where it goes from here."
Beck's shutout was the first by a member of the Dash since Matt Heidenreich blanked Salem last June 25. Winston-Salem leads the league with seven shutouts.
Hawkins, the White Sox top-ranked prospect, plated a pair of runs with a double in the first and Smith added an RBI double.
Kyle Zimmer, the Royals' No. 2 prospect, retired only two batters and fell to 0-6 after allowing five runs on five hits.