Andrew Heaney didn't allow a run in 28 straight Class A Advanced innings before being called up to Double-A Jacksonville. After making the proverbial toughest jump in the Minors, the only difference seems to be that now he has the chance to do damage with his bat too.
Miami's No. 3 prospect allowed three hits and a walk and fanned three over six shutout innings to earn the victory and picked up his first pro hit in his Jacksonville debut as the host Suns beat Chattanooga, 5-1 on Thursday night.
"I felt good. I had some adrenaline going and was anxious to get out there," Heaney said. "My fastball was good tonight and whenever I needed to go to a second pitch the changeup was there."
"I was really impressed," Suns manager Andy Barkett added. "[Heaney] was poised and under control. I was really super impressed with his performance tonight."
After striking out swinging in his first at-bat since his senior year of high school, the 22-year-old earned his first professional hit on a single to left field.
"I was preparing to bunt or strike out like I did the first time so just getting the bat on the ball is a positive for me. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I looked like an idiot out there but whatever," the Oklahoma City native said.
Heaney (1-0) exited after just 79 pitches -- 55 for strikes.
"I got in a little trouble in the sixth and fell behind some guys, but managed to get out of it," Heaney said. "Obviously [Barkett] wants to win and going to the bullpen was the right thing. He wanted me to go out on a high note, so I had no problem with it obviously."
The 6-foot-2 left-hander struck out 66 and posted a 0.88 ERA in 61 2/3 innings for Jupiter in the Florida State League. He hasn't given up a run since June 29, totaling 34 straight scoreless innings.
"It's pretty cool, obviously I wasn't expecting it. Going six and giving us a chance to win and staying on the streak is what makes me happy. Everyone loves winning, so I just wanted to help out the team and not be a hindrance in my first start," Heaney said.
The ninth pick in the 2012 Draft quickly noticed the difference in the quality of hitters between the two levels.
"Some of the balls I left up, instead of maybe getting swung through or hit on the ground softly, the balls were hit well," Heaney said. "I thought they were decent pitches and they got hit pretty well, so you're susceptible to giving up some hits even when you make a good pitch."
Mark Canha hit a bases-clearing triple in the seventh for the Suns.
"[Canha] looked great swinging the bat for us," Barkett said. "That was a big hit to give us some room."
Jacksonville has won seven games in a row for the first time since May 2010.
"It's humbling to win seven games in a row," Barkett said. "It would have been nice just to win the series. But we're getting great pitching and timely hitting."