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Kasparek cruises in first Double-A start04/12/2011 1:37 AM ET
By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com
Seattle farmhand Kenn Kasparek had plenty of time to study the men he would be facing in his first Double-A start.
On Monday, the fifth pitcher in the Jackson Generals' rotation made the most of everything he had seen from the bench in the finale of the five-game set.
Kasparek scattered three hits over seven shutout innings in his Southern League debut, walking one and striking out three in the Generals' 3-0 victory over the Mississippi Braves.
The right-hander selected by the Mariners in the 12th round of the 2008 Draft was dominant from start to finish. He did not allow a baserunner to reach third, and he retired the final 12 batters he faced before turning things over to the bullpen.
"This was definitely the way I wanted to start off," Kasparek said. "We click on both sides of the ball. Considering this was the first time I had worked with (catcher) Brandon Bantz, it was nice to be on the same page all night.
"Being the fifth starter, you get a feel for how good the other team's hitters are. I got to see them four times before and I used that to my advantage."
The University of Texas product surrendered a single to Antoan Richardson to lead off the game, but he retired Tyler Pastornicky and then got Cory Harrilchak to hit into a double play to end the frame.
He worked around a one-out double to Ernesto Mejia in the second inning and set down the side in order in the third, but he ran into some trouble in the fourth.
Pastornicky reached base on an infield single when Kasparek was slow getting over to cover first base, and Harrilchak drew a walk to put runners on first and second. From there on, though, Kasparek cruised.
He retired the next three batters he faced to strand the potential go-ahead run in scoring position, and he was perfect the rest of the way.
Even though seven of the final nine outs came on fly balls to the outfield, Kasparek said he was comfortable pitching to contact, knowing his defense would make plays behind him.
"The plan of attack was to attack batters early and get ahead in the count," he said. "I'm a fly-ball pitcher and I didn't try to be too perfect, because that is when I make mistakes.
"Last year I was in the Cal League playing in a ballpark that was notorious for the wind blowing out, so I knew today that I could get away with some balls that would have been home runs or off the wall in High Desert."
Moises Hernandez worked around a two-out single and a wild pitch to keep the Braves at bay in the eighth and Stephen Penney completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth for his second save.
"They came in and pounded the strike zone and that is all you can ask for," Kasparek said of the relievers. "They didn't try to do anything too fancy, so hats off to those guys. They came out and had my back tonight."