Asher perfect into fifth for RoughRiders

Rangers' No. 10 prospect allows two hits in seven scoreless innings

Alec Asher pitched seven innings for the fourth time in 12 starts this season. (Grant Nelson/Frisco RoughRiders)

By Tyler Maun / | June 7, 2014 12:44 AM ET

Alec Asher had family in town on Friday, so he did his best to ensure an efficient outing would leave plenty of time for postgame dinner.

The Rangers' No. 10 prospect silenced San Antonio over seven innings, allowing two hits and striking out four, as Double-A Frisco posted an 8-0 victory at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Asher (6-4) was perfect into the fifth, retiring the first 14 Missions before surrendering a two-out single to top Padres prospect Austin Hedges. Reymond Fuentes ripped a two-out triple in the sixth, but each time, Asher got the final out to avoid damage.

Boasting a fastball that reached the upper-90s, it was the 22-year-old right-hander's ability to set up his power pitch late in at-bats that keyed his effective night.

"I think tonight, one thing that made him effective was his off-speed early in the count," RoughRiders manager Jason Wood said. "He mixed pitches really well early in the count and mixed them for strikes, which was really good. He dropped the curveball in, predominantly in three or four innings, early in the count and got ahead with strike one. They weren't able to make adjustments on it, and then he backed it up with the good power fastball that he had."

In support of Asher, Frisco jumped on San Antonio starter Matt Branham (4-2) in the second when Trever Adams, Odubel Herrera, Guilder Rodriguez and Pat Cantwell delivered RBI singles. Jake Smolinski led off the third with his 10th homer of the year.

Chris Grayson, Rodriguez and Tomas Telis added run-scoring singles in the sixth to end Branham's night. The right-hander was charged with eight runs on 13 hits while walking two and striking out one over five-plus innings.

With an eight-run buffer, Asher pitched an orderly seventh, striking out Rymer Liriano before inducing a groundout from pinch-hitter Lee Orr.

"I was sitting next to Jeff Andrews, my pitching coach," Wood said, "and we were watching that he was really staying behind his fastball tonight and getting a lot of length and extension on his fastball, which tells me that he feels good and is letting that thing go. He was showing that and creating that tonight, which is good. There have been times when he's been a little bit timid and sat up there thinking a little bit too much. He felt confidence and conviction with what he was going to throw [tonight], and he did a really good job of that."

Asher pounded the zone, throwing 62 of 84 pitches for strikes.

"He had plenty of first-pitch strikes tonight," Wood noted. "Once he had that, he had those hitters exactly where he wanted them because, in all honesty, they didn't know what was coming. His mix was so good tonight, he didn't pattern himself at all. That really helped out. Plus, he's throwing that plus fastball with 96-97 (mph) up there. They couldn't sit on anything."

Friday's outing matched the longest of the season for Asher, who also completed seven innings in three consecutive starts from May 3-14. But his manager saw something different this time around.

"To his credit, I think there was some stamina left inside him," Wood said. "I hadn't seen that out of him in the last few outings, but when we pulled him tonight, there was still some left in the tank. We just didn't want to push it because it's still kind of early. His efficiency really helped."

Tyler Maun is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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