After Brian Flynn settled into his start on Friday night, there was no unsettling him.
The Marlins' No. 7 prospect allowed a two-out hit and a walk in the first inning but was otherwise perfect for seven frames. He struck out seven to pick up his first win of the season as Triple-A New Orleans edged Iowa, 1-0.
"Everything mechanically was clicking. I was getting the ball downhill," Flynn said. "I was just throwing a lot of strikes, really getting ahead of a lot of guys. And when I wasn't, I had the confidence to get back into the zone when I needed to. Not being behind in counts really helped a lot."
With two outs in the opening inning, I-Cubs shortstop Chris Valaika saw three straight balls from Flynn (1-1) before lining the sixth pitch of his at-bat into right field for a single. Flynn got ahead 1-2 on Josh Vitters but missed with the next three pitches.
"I was kind of settling in in the first inning. [With three balls], I threw Valaika a pretty fat one," Flynn said. "I know him from last year and he has a good, level swing and he did what he should have done with it."
Flynn induced a comebacker to end the frame, and it was smooth sailing thereafter. He recorded two strikeouts in the third and one in every other inning except the seventh, when he got a flyout and two ground balls.
"There were definitely a couple hard-hit balls, but they were right at guys. It was one of those games where everything worked out," said the Wichita State product. "To a couple guys, I went 2-0, and I said, 'You've got to keep going. Make a good pitch in the zone.' It was really positive for me being in a hitter's count and being able to come back and get the outs."
Iowa starter Tsuyoshi Wada (2-1) cruised through eight innings, despite surrendering a homer to the game's first batter, Josh Rodriguez. Wada's performance provided Flynn with extra motivation to get quick outs.
"With a good outing like that, you just try to move quickly and keep going," he said, "especially with a pitchers' duel like we had Friday. When the other guy is throwing like [Wada] was, the last thing you want to do is go out and give up that lead."
Flynn, who turns 24 on Saturday, needed only 79 pitches and threw 54 for strikes.
The Zepyhrs improved to 5-11, and Flynn said he "absolutely" uses that rough start to the season as extra motivation when he takes the mound.
"And with me having the year I had here last year, I especially want to set the table for us," he said. "I want to get us on the right track."
In 2013, Flynn was 7-12 with a 2.63 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A Jacksonville and New Orleans. In the big leagues, however, he went 0-2 with an 8.50 ERA in four starts. The Oklahoma native has a 3.86 ERA over 23 2/3 innings this season.
Henry Rodriguez struck out two over the final two frames for his first save since 2012, finishing off the Zephyrs' first shutout of the season.