Casey Mize seemed more like himself on the mound Monday night.
Detroit's top prospect allowed three hits while striking out six over six scoreless frames to help Double-A Erie defeat Hartford, 4-1, at Dunkin' Donuts Park.
Video: SeaWolves' Mize escapes jam
Mize (3-0) worked around a leadoff walk to Manuel Melendez in the first inning and singles by Rockies No. 25 prospect Bret Boswell and Vance Vizcaino in the second before getting into a groove.
Alan Trejo singled to right-center field off the right-hander with one out in the fourth, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a double. MLB.com's sixth-ranked overall prospect retired the final seven batters to complete his night.
"He had a plan of attacking the zone and it seemed that he was getting better as the game went on," SeaWolves pitching coach Mark Johnson said.
Gameday box score
The top overall pick in 2018 out of Auburn took the Eastern League by storm in his first two starts after being called up from Class A Advanced Lakeland. Mize started his tenure with a complete-game no-hitter and didn't allow any earned runs over his first 14 innings in the Eastern League. He was tagged for six earned runs on 13 hits over 10 2/3 innings in his last two appearances.
It was part of a learning curve that the 22-year-old is going through, Johnson explained.
"He's facing professional hitters and that can happen when you make a couple of mistakes," the coach said. "His last game I don't think he had a really bad start, he just made a couple of mistakes in the sixth inning that cost him."
Johnson's been particular impressed with the way Mize has handled the strain of being a hyped prospect..
"He's got a good head on his shoulders and the pressure, just being in college last year and being highly talented, the pressures of being not only a first-round pick but the first overall, he's shown a matureness," Johnson said. "He has a feel for all of his pitches and what is working for him in that game and situation. He has a conviction of what pitch he wants to throw at that moment and attacking with it."
2019 MiLB include
Being part of a staff with other high Tigers prospects such as second-ranked Matt Manning, No. 9 Alex Faedo and No. 15 Logan Shore helps lessen the tension.
"What I do like is that they all have conversations with themselves," Johnson said. "They watch each other and talk a lot and learn from each other. Things like, 'What were you thinking here?' Or let's say, Mize exploits a weakness in a hitter, how can Manning use that, how does Faedo use that, how does Shore use that? Overall, it is a staff that uses conversation to learn from each other and understand situations that may help them in their outing."
Right-hander Drew Carlton scattered a hit and struck out four over two innings of relief while Tigers No. 19 prospect Bryan Garcia allowed an earned run on a hit while striking out one in the ninth.
On the offensive side, Josh Lester smacked a two-run homer and drove in Detroit's No. 14 prospect Sergio Alcantara with a sacrifice fly. No. 30 Jose Azocar accounted for Erie's other run with a single that brought home No. 24 Derek Hill.