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D-backs' Bradley justifies pro decision04/16/2012 11:49 PM ET
By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com
It was just 10 months ago that right-handed pitching prospect Archie Bradley had to choose between professional baseball or being a two-sport athlete in college. Performances like the one he delivered Monday remind him that he made the right decision.
The D-backs first-rounder turned in his strongest start since turning pro, striking out a personal-best eight batters over five innings of no-hit ball in the Class A South Bend Silver Hawks' 3-0 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts.
"It made me feel real good tonight," said Bradley, who had committed to play football and baseball at the University of Oklahoma before being selected with the seventh pick of June's Draft.
"I think about what it would have been like to play football all the time, but I don't regret it one bit. One-hundred percent I made the right decision."
The 19-year-old walked two batters and hit one. While he didn't allow a hit in his third Midwest League start, he had to deal with runners in scoring position in three of his five frames.
MLB.com's No. 20 prospect worked around first baseman Bobby Stone's fielding error in the first inning, and he stranded runners at second and third in the second frame after hitting Markus Brisker with a pitch and walking Kellen Sweeney.
"I knew they were a good team," he said. "They are 10-1 now and I knew they would get on base and hit the ball well. But I kept my changeup down in the zone and I felt my mechanics were good."
After that, Bradley -- who said he would have likely been a communications major looking at a career in broadcasting had he opted for college -- cruised. He retired nine of the final 11 batters he faced, recording six consecutive outs via the strikeout between the third out of the third frame and the second out of the fifth.
"Overall, I was pretty good," he added. "Any time you don't give up any hits you have to be pleased. I had two walks, but they were good walks where I battled, got to a full count and just missed.
"I took a couple no-hitters into the fifth inning back in my senior year, but to do it in pro ball is pretty good. I was throwing the ball down hill and I could have gone the whole game if they wanted me to."
The outing lowered Bradley's ERA to 1.13. He has now fanned 22 batters over 16 innings this year, despite being on strict pitch counts.
"I know that when you're in your first full season you will be on innings limits and pitch counts so you might not always have the chance to get wins," said Bradley, the D-backs' No. 2 prospect. "But honestly, I'm more of a team guy. It's more frustrating for me when the team loses than when I don't get the win.
"Every chance is a chance for me to go out there and get better and continue to learn. That is what it's all about."
In his first start of the year against Bowling Green on April 5, Bradley allowed a run on four hits while fanning seven batters over five innings. On Wednesday, the 6-foot-4 farmhand spun six one-run innings in a victory over Fort Wayne. He gave up two hits and three walks while striking out seven more batters to earn his first pro win.
Despite putting up zeros Monday, Bradley's performance did not translate into his second win of the season.
Tyler Green (0-1) surrendered three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and two walks over the final three frames, and the Lugnuts' pitchers matched Bradley every step of the way to complete the team's third shutout in 11 games.
No. 4 Jays prospect Noah Syndergaard fanned six batters over three frames to run his streak to nine scoreless innings, Anthony DeSclafani (1-0) scattered two hits in his three innings of work and Javier Avendano struck out all six batters he faced in his third appearance of the season. Ajay Meyer worked around one hit in the ninth to earn his fifth save of the year.