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Thompson keeps calm and dominates
Tigers' No. 4 prospect allows two hits over seven scoreless innings
05/03/2014 11:25 PM ET
Jake Thompson ranks among the Florida State League leaders in ERA, strikeouts and WHIP. (Tom Hagerty/

Whether his pitches are working or not, you wouldn't be able to tell by Jake Thompson's demeanor -- or the score, for that matter. He just stays calm on the mound and keeps the opposition from crossing the plate.

On Saturday night, all four of the right-hander's pitches were working as he allowed two hits over seven innings and pitched Class A Advanced Lakeland to a 2-0 blanking of visiting Dunedin.

"Outstanding, for sure," Flying Tigers pitching coach Mike Maroth said. "He was able to throw them over the plate, all four were effective. It is tough for hitters when a pitcher has all four pitches working."

The Tigers' fourth-ranked prospect struck out seven for the second time this season and issued one walk while lowering his ERA to 0.97.

Thompson (3-1) ran into trouble in the first inning. Dalton Pompey singled with one out and moved up on a wild pitch. K.C. Hobson walked, but the 20-year-old retired the next eight batters.

"That was the only time he showed signs of battling. After the first, his pitches got better, his command got sharper," Maroth said. "He just did a great job and, obviously, his line shows."

Thompson was coming off his worst start of the season after yielding a run on five hits with six strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings at Tampa on April 27.

"He just didn't have his command, [but] he battled through it -- that's the thing he showed me," Maroth said. "His efficiency wasn't there, but he still went out there and got outs."

After working on his changeup between outings, the 2012 second-round pick allowed just one other Blue Jay to reach second base. He fanned four of his final six batters to bring his season total to 35, which ranks fourth in the Florida State League. His ERA places him third behind Matt Boyd (0.29), who's been promoted to Double-A New Hampshire, and Dunedin teammate Daniel Norris (0.75).

Thompson has pitched into the seventh inning in four of his six starts and has held opponents to a .183 batting average.

"His demeanor has been excellent in every game he's thrown. From pitch one to the time he comes out, he goes out there and stays focused," Maroth said. "He's had so many good starts. This isn't the first time he's gone seven innings and put up zeros all the way through; he's been very good almost every time out. He's been very consistent with his performances."

Brennan Smith struck out two and worked around a hit and a walk over the final two innings for his third save. He finished off Lakeland's fifth straight win and fifth shutout of the season.

Jeff McVaney provided all of the offense with his second homer of the season, a two-run blast in the fourth.

Dunedin starter Ben White (1-1) also went seven innings, allowing wo runs on four hits with four strikeouts.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs. Comments