When Jimmy Reed was a junior at the University of Maryland, the Terrapins needed a starter. So he stepped up and said he could fill the need.
"They put me in as the Friday starter about a week after I told them I could start," he said.
Since then, Reed has relished his time in the starting rotation while keeping a closer's mentality. On Friday night, he dipped into both mind-sets and allowed two hits over seven innings as Class A Peoria blanked Beloit, 1-0.
"That was a lot of fun," the Cardinals prospect said. "I used to be a reliever when I was in college and I loved coming into close situations and get crucial outs in close situations. It makes me focus more.
"When I go out there, I try to take it inning by inning and tell myself, '1-2-3. Focus on this pitch instead of the outing as a whole.' I just try to focus on getting strike one, and that's really all you can do."
Four scoreless innings into his latest start, Reed (3-1) realized he was the deepest into a no-hitter he'd ever been in his professional career.
"It's always on your mind, but you have to just go out there and establish your fastball," he said. "I was pitching off my fastball and using my changeup on righties and my slider on lefties, just trying to work both sides of the plate, just trying to pitch to contact."
The bid ended in the fifth with a leadoff single by Chih Fang Pan, but knowing that one run could cost the Chiefs the game, the 23-year-old left-hander tapped his closer mentality and retired the next six Snappers.
Reed worked around a leadoff double in the seventh and was in line for the win after Vaughn Bryan delivered a two-out RBI triple in the top of the eighth.
"It definitely feels good. These past couple games, we've struggled a little bit but I wanted to help the team win," the Maryland native said. "I enjoyed pitching out of the bullpen, but there's something about the starting pitcher that your team relies on you and where there is pressure to help your team win that I thrive off of."
While Reed wanted to return for the eighth, he had confidence in reliever Chris Perry, who hadn't allowed a hit in his previous four appearances. Perry worked around a one-out single in the eighth and struck out four over two innings to earn his first professional save.
Beloit starter Kyle Finnegan (5-2) was the hard-luck loser after allowing one run on five hits over eight innings. He walked four batters without recording a strikeout.