Clarkin sets stage for RiverDogs' rout

Yankees' No. 7 prospect surrenders two hits in five scoreless frames

Lefty Ian Clarkin retired 11 straight hitters in between the two hits he allowed against Lexington. (Charleston RiverDogs)

By Mark Emery / | June 16, 2014 12:20 AM ET

Ian Clarkin didn't think on Sunday. He just threw.

The Yankees' No. 7 prospect churned out five shutout innings in Class A Charleston's 10-3 win at Lexington, yielding just two hits while fanning five and not issuing any walks.

"It's been difficult because I've just been thinking too much," said Clarkin, who did not factor into the decision. "This is probably one of my first starts, if not my only start, where I've had really good tempo. That was really the key for me tonight, just keeping the fielders on their toes and just keeping it fast-paced."

With his second scoreless outing of the season, the 2013 first-round pick (No. 33 overall) lowered his ERA to 3.67. He also threw five shutout frames May 3 against Delmarva in his South Atlantic League debut.

His outing Sunday didn't get off to the best of starts, as the southpaw beaned Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado and served up a double to Ramon Torres in the first inning.

Following the two-bagger, Clarkin retired 11 in a row, a streak that was broken by Elier Hernandez's leadoff single in the fifth.

Being a self-declared perfectionist, the San Diego native found fault in his performance, but not enough to dampen his enthusiasm.

"It's just a sigh of relief," Clarkin said. "I've had my good stuff the last couple outings and just made a couple mistakes. It was just a coming-out party. It feels good to be where I think I should be.

"It feels good to pitch the way I want to pitch, the way I know I can pitch. Because before, I was just thinking too much. Tonight, it was just going out there and pitching like I normally do."

After an ankle injury limited him to just five innings with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Yankees a year ago, Clarkin has thrown 41 2/3 innings for the RiverDogs this season. He ended the first half with a 2-3 record and 42 strikeouts against eight walks.

"The stats don't really show, I think, how well I've been pitching this year," the 19-year-old said. "I thought I've been throwing the ball pretty well. It's just unfortunate that some runs came across the board. I'm just looking to bounce back. There's a lot of things to work on for me, a lot of adjustments I've had to make. I'm just hoping for a lot more starts like this one."

The first five innings played like a veritable pitchers' duel. Lexington's Crawford Simmons also allowed just two hits over five shutout innings. The Legends starter struck out six and walked four.

Dustin Fowler smacked a grand slam in the seventh for the RiverDogs. An inning later, Gosuke Katoh and Tyler Wade both recorded two-run singles, and Katoh notched another RBI in the two-run ninth.

For the Legends, Carlos Garcia belted a two-run single in the seventh.

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

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