Allard bouncing back strong from surgery

Braves' No. 4 prospect allows two hits, strikes out seven in six innings

Kolby Allard is second in the Appalachian League with 26 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings over four starts. (Bill Setliff)

By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com | July 12, 2016 12:17 AM

Kolby Allard is quickly rewarding the faith Atlanta had in him.

Atlanta's No. 4 prospect gave up two hits and two walks while striking out seven over six innings Monday as Rookie-level Danville beat Kingsport, 7-2.

Allard (2-0), who faced three hitters over the minimum, recorded six ground-ball outs and retired 10 of his last 11 batters.

"I was going out there trying to establish the fastball to both sides of the plate," the 18-year-old left-hander said. "Everything just worked off of that. When you can command your fastball to both sides of the plate, it sets up your curveball. I felt pretty good."

Allard hasn't missed a start since sitting out the first two months of the season, a positive sign for a player who has had two back surgeries, including one last year as a senior in high school.

"I feel good," the 2015 first-round pick said. "Obviously, pitching is a routine thing. I've gotten into a solid routine and just have to stick with it and hopefully I can go out and help my team win as many games as I can."

MLB.com's No. 79 overall prospect is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and has struck out 26 batters in 21 1/3 innings -- second only to Kingsport's Thomas Szapucki in the Appalachian League -- over four starts.

"Whenever you take a long time off from anything, it [stinks]," Allard said. "Being able to go back out there every five days, it's a great feeling. Especially when you can go out there and help the team get a win."

Overall, the California native is 2-2 with a 4.05 ERA in seven starts after making three appearances for Class A Rome. Allard hopes to return to the South Atlantic League this season, and said he knows what he has to do to make that a possibility.

"Like I said, everything I work off of is commanding my fastball to both sides of the plate," he said. "I just have to go out there every five days and compete as best I can."

Jacob Webb took over for Allard and struck out the side in the seventh while Adam McCreery gave up two runs on three hits while fanning two over an inning. Brandon White pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the victory.

Marcus Mooney and Kevin Josephina both plated a pair of runs for Danville.

Kingsport's Jordan Humphreys (1-3) surrendered six runs -- four earned -- on six hits and two walks over five innings.

Ian Strom tripled and scored once for the Mets.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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