Matt Marksberry has put hard work into erasing the first half of his 2014 season from memory. Wednesday's outing will go a long way toward that goal.
The Braves southpaw gave up one hit over a career-high seven innings as Class A Rome bested Delmarva, 8-0, on Wednesday.
Marksberry walked two and struck out one in the longest outing of his career. After Gregory Lorenzo reached on a fielding error by third baseman Carlos Franco with one out in the third inning, the 23-year-old left-hander retired 13 straight batters, a streak broken when he walked Chance Sisco with two outs in the seventh.
"I was hitting spots, I got ahead of hitters," Marksberry said. "I mixed well and had my good velo today, so I was just battling hitters and trying to make as many strikes as I can. I was sitting 91 to 93 mph and hitting 94."
Marksberry (3-6) has earned wins in three straight decisions for the Braves, allowing four earned runs over 17 innings in that time. The Campbell University product credited the offense for his win streak.
"The thing for me is being able to get ahead of hitters and being able to put them away instead of letting them linger and putting me at my pitch count," he said. "I've had really great support from my offense the last three outings. With the way they've been hitting, it's hard not to go out there and get a win."
After going 0-3 with a 5.13 ERA in eight first-half starts, Marksberry has started to turn things around. He has compiled a 2.58 ERA while posting a 3-3 record in seven starts since the All-Star break.
"I've been running more, working out more, trying to get myself ready to hopefully keep moving on," the Ohio native said of his second-half success. "I'm just trying to have a better second half than my first half. After every outing I've had, I've learned something and it helps me with my next one. My pitching coach Gabe Luckert has been a great tool for me, helping me out with little mechanical things that help me pitch better."
Michael Swanner fanned two in a perfect eighth and Caleb Dirks gave up two hits and fanned one in the ninth to finish off the game for the Braves.
Victor Caratini, the Braves' No. 7 prospect, plated three runs and Connor Oliver added three RBIs for Rome.