It took a few starts for Sean Newcomb to acclimate himself to pro ball, but he found his groove Wednesday.
The Angels' top prospect struck out 10 and permitted just two singles without walking a batter over four innings as Class A Burlington three-hit host Wisconsin in a 1-0 win Wednesday.
It was the sixth pro start for this year's No. 15 overall pick, and his longest. Newcomb hadn't previously struck out three in a game, nor gone more than 3 1/3 innings. He's 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA over four Midwest League outings.
"I was just able to attack the zone, hitting my spots with the fastball. It was good to use that to my advantage and throw a lot more strikes," he said. "No walks -- that was good. [The Angels] added to my pitch count a little, and I knew I had to attack the zone if I wanted to be able to go a little farther."
The University of Hartford product said he was unaware of a specific pitch limit, but knew that in previous starts the organization wanted him to go "just two or three innings," as he'd made 14 starts and thrown 93 1/3 frames in the college season.
Newcomb struck out Christopher McFarland, the first batter he faced. After Johnny Davis bunted for a hit to first baseman Eric Aguilera, Newcomb struck out two more.
"The bunt single, I should have had him," the Brockton, Massachusetts native said. "Going over to cover the base, I thought [Aguilera] would take it himself, which was just a brain lapse on my part. I knew [Davis] had speed. I just messed up, but it felt good to get the next two."
The 21-year-old lefty struck out the side in order in the second. At that point, he knew had the makings of a lights-out start.
"My stuff was working," Newcomb said. "I was attacking with the fastball and stuff, and I was having success there."
He worked a perfect third and fanned the first two batters of the fourth. Seventh-ranked Brewers prospect Clint Coulter interrupted the whiff parade by roping an 0-2 offering into center field for a base hit.
"It was actually a mistake pitch. It was a fastball on the wrong part of the plate," he said. "I'd gone to the same spot in that at-bat, but I missed there. It was over the plate and he jumped on it right away and hit it right over second base."
Newcomb recovered to punch out Taylor Brennan to end his evening. He made 60 pitches, 40 for strikes.
"I had an idea I was done," he said. "They're not looking to push me. I've only been out here a little bit, and I knew I was only going to go a few innings. I was happy with it."
Ronald Muck (2-3) allowed a hit and a walk while striking out four over three scoreless innings of relief. Alan Busenitz turned in two perfect innings, striking out three, to earn his 16th save.
"That was great," Newcomb said. "I mean, for Muck to come in and pick up for me, one hit and he had the one walk, but other than that he did a really good job. It was big for them to come out there and support me."
Aguilera went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored, and Zachary Houchins knocked him in with a double for the Bees.
Rafael Neda doubled and was the lone Timber Rattlers batter to reach second base.
Clint Terry fell to 3-5 despite holding the Bees to a run on three hits and a walk while striking out eight over five innings.