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Heaney continues to post zeros
Marlins right-hander extends shutout streak to 22 innings
07/21/2013 10:38 PM ET
Andrew Heaney has not allowed a run in his past four starts.
Andrew Heaney has not allowed a run in his past four starts. (BonanzaSports.net)

Miami first-rounder Andrew Heaney isn't opposed to pitching on the road. In fact, he embraces the challenge of suiting up in hostile territory.

In his mind, succeeding in a place where everyone else wants you to fail makes you a better player. And then there's the fact that his road uniform fits him better.

Miami's No. 4 prospect allowed two singles and a pair of walks while striking out four batters over six innings in the Class A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads' 1-0 win over the host Clearwater Threshers.

"You don't want to disappoint people," Heaney said. "You always want to sit people down in their seats and make them respect you. But both ways is a positive, because then at home, your home fans are excited to see you play and that is fun too.

"You don't really hear [the fans]. If you ask most guys, they will say they don't. You have to focus on it to hear them. Plus, my gray pants fit better."

The outing lowered southpaw Heaney's ERA to 0.97 and extended his scoreless-inning streak to 22 frames.

Selected by the Marlins ninth overall in the 2012 Draft, the 22-year-old faced one above the minimum through the first five innings. He gave up a leadoff walk and two-out single in the sixth inning to put the potential go-ahead run on base, but he induced a fly ball off the bat of Cameron Perkins to complete his outing.

"I was getting early contact and early outs which was good," said Heaney, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 24th round of the 2009 Draft but did not sign. "[Catcher Wilfredo Gimenez] was very good. He was putting it down and I was throwing it. We were on the same page.

"I shook him off maybe once or twice in the game. If you only shake your catcher off one time, you're in a good rhythm."

The last time Heaney (4-2) allowed a run was on June 29 at home to Charlotte -- a game in which he allowed a pair of homers in the middle innings, but finished with a scoreless final frame.

Since then, he spun six scoreless innings on the road in St. Lucie on July 5 and four one-hit frames in Fort Myers on July 10. Last time out on July 15, Heaney -- who suffered a lat strain early in Spring Training and didn't make his season debut until May 20 -- scattered five hits over five shutout innings.

"I think it's just been about locating my fastball," said Heaney, who was named Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award as a junior at Oklahoma State University in 2012. "I've been able to spot up my fastball and throw my change-up for strikes and get ground balls. If I need slider for a swing-and-miss pitch or a strike, I'm able to do it.

"I'm feeling good. I feel comfortable again and I'm able to control the game a little better. I just want to continue that. [In May], my manager [Andy Haines] told me I had to understand that everybody else was in midseason form and that I had to let it run its course. Now I feel like I'm in midseason form like everybody else."

On Sunday, Jose Ceda struck out two batters in a scoreless inning of relief and Greg Nappo spun a perfect eighth. Closer Nick Wittgren worked around a hit and a walk to earn his 19th save of the season.

 

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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