After a tumultuous season debut, Andre Jackson had been nothing short of stellar. That trend continued Friday.
The Dodgers prospect allowed two hits while striking out six over six innings in Class A Great Lakes' 7-0 blanking of Fort Wayne at Dow Diamond. He's given up one earned run in his last six starts to move into third place in the Midwest League with a 1.91 ERA.
Gameday box score
Jackson (4-1) allowed just one hit and struck out four over six scoreless frames in his last start against West Michigan. To follow up what was maybe his best outing of the year with an almost equally impressive showing will pay dividends as he looks to continue this level of success.
"It feels really good," he said. "That's kind of the thing I've been focusing on this year, is being a little more consistent. To have that kind of outing back-to-back is big for me, and gives me a little more confidence moving forward."
Jackson was sharp early, retiring the TinCaps in order the first time through the lineup. He surrendered his first hit of the night to Padres No. 11 prospect Xavier Edwards leading off the fourth, but got Grant Little to ground into a double play two batters later to escape. From there, he knew it would be smooth sailing.
"For me, it's like getting to and through the fourth," Jackson said. "And then from there, it's kind of just like, 'All right, I'm settled in, I've gone through the lineup a couple times and now I know where I'm at tonight.'"
The right-hander did not allow another hit until the sixth, when Juan Fernandez singled to left field with one out. He soon moved up to second on a wild pitch, putting him in scoring position for Edwards. Jackson buckled down, though, and caught him looking for strike three to preserve the shutout.
Video: Great Lakes' Jackson caps outing with K
Jackson's ERA fell below 2.00 for the first time this year. In his first start on April 5, he gave up five runs in 2 2/3 innings, giving him a 16.88 mark to open the season. That number has shrunk with every start, as he's yielded just four runs across the subsequent eight outings.
This is the second full Minor League season for the 23-year-old. Selected in the 12th round of the 2017 Draft, Jackson put together a 3.44 ERA in four appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League last summer before earning a promotion to Great Lakes, where he made 14 starts and finished the year with a 4.10 clip.
It's also just Jackson's second season as a full-time pitcher. He tossed 20 2/3 innings in two college seasons with Utah, but was primarily an outfielder. So, while he certainly knows how to pitch, he's still learning how to truly be a pitcher at the professional level.
Having stretches like these will go a long way in that regard, but he acknowledged learning how to deal less fruitful spells will be just as important in his development.
"It's like a snowball effect, you kind of learn something, pick something up along the way, it gets a little bit easier," he said. "You're gonna have your bad outings here and there, that's something you also build off of ... it's just building confidence outing to outing, even if it wasn't the best. It's something that I'm learning to do, and picking good things from bad things, and sticking with what's working."
2019 MiLB include
Jackson was supported by a raucous Loons offense that racked up a season-high 20 hits and gave him five runs of support in the first inning. Chris Roller went 3-for-5 with a solo homer, his fifth of the season. Jair Camargo and Daniel Robinson each turned in a 3-for-5 night, both driving in a run and scoring one as well.
All but one Loon had a multi-hit night. Dillon Paulson doubled in the first run for his only hit, but walked twice and scored a run.