The transition to the Florida State League was a rocky one for Scott Moss. Those days, however, are a distant memory.
The Reds' No. 21 prospect allowed two hits and struck out eight over seven innings as Class A Advanced Daytona blanked Jupiter, 8-0, on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. He walked one -- the first batter of the game -- and has given up one earned run or fewer in six of his last seven starts.
"The execution of my pitches has been much better," Moss said. "Day to day, your stuff changes, but the execution and knowing what you have working that particular start are key. I'm growing into being a pitcher instead of a thrower and not thinking back to what worked last year but instead focusing on what is working [today]."
Gameday box score
Despite walking Anfernee Seymour, who stole two bases in the opening frame, Moss (9-2) recorded all three outs via strikeouts. Beginning with Marlins No. 9 prospect James Nelson in the first inning, the southpaw set down eight consecutive batters until Riley Mahan singled leading off the fourth. Moss punched out Nelson a second time and induced an inning-ending double play from Cameron Baranek to begin a stretch of nine straight Hammerheads retired.
"[Daytona pitching coach] Tom Brown came up to me to shake my hand and I gave him a look," Moss said. "But he just kept his hand there and I knew then that I was done. I'm always competitive out there, especially when things are rolling, but you need to think long term. I still have around seven regular-season starts left and it's about my health and the big picture. There's no sense in blowing it all in one game right now."
Baranek's two-out single in the seventh ended the streak, but Moss retired Justin Twine to complete seven innings for the second time in 15 starts this season. He threw 64 of 88 pitches for strikes and did not go to a three-ball count after walking Seymour to begin the game.
"I felt pretty much the same tonight as I have the last several times out," the 2016 fourth-round pick said. "My movement was much better tonight, and that's always a huge plus. In talking to some of the hitters on my team, they were saying how the sky [behind the pitcher] was really bad tonight. Knowing that, I threw a lot of off-speed stuff and then finished them off with fastballs."
The Deltona, Florida, native allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings in his FSL debut on April 6 but posted an 8.06 ERA in his next six starts. Since May 22 -- when he tossed seven scoreless innings against Jupiter -- Moss has yielded five earned runs over 38 2/3 innings to lower his ERA from 6.05 to 3.61. He has lost once in his last 12 starts and his nine wins are tied for the league lead with Dunedin's Maverik Buffo.
"It's all about staying aggressive," Moss said. "It's the dog days of summer and here in Florida, it's about 100 [degrees] and feels about 120 with the heat index. But staying aggressive and having full conviction on all of the pitches I throw is something I'm focused on as we continue forward."
Nick Howard and Aaron Fossas each tossed a scoreless inning to complete the Daytona's fourth shutout of the year.
Ibandel Isabel reached base four times and slugged a three-run homer that highlighted the Tortugas' five-run fourth. Brantley Bell went 3-for-4 with a triple, two doubles, an RBI and a run scored, while Daniel Sweet doubled twice and scored twice.
Jupiter starter Cody Poteet (0-1) was charged with five runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out nine, over six innings.
Mahan, the 17th-ranked Marlins prospect, had two of his club's four hits.