If you were waiting for Sean Newcomb to get back on track in the Southern League, you can stop waiting.
"I've been feeling really good lately. Even the two [starts] before the last two, I was feeling good," he said. "I've been able to work down in the zone and I'm throwing everything for strikes."
Atlanta's top pitching prospect scattered two hits and three walks while striking out eight over six innings in Double-A Mississippi's 2-0 shutout at Jacksonville on Thursday.
It was the third straight dominant outing for Newcomb. The 23-year-old left-hander allowed two runs and fanned 25 over his last 17 2/3 innings. In his previous start, he struck out a season-high 10, one shy of his career high. His hot streak makes him 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA through 23 Double-A starts this year, despite a run in which that number ballooned to 4.79 by mid-July.
Newcomb, MLB.com's No. 54 overall prospect, coasted his first time through the Suns lineup Thursday, the lone flaw being a one-out walk to sixth-ranked Marlins prospect Austin Dean in the first frame.
"We had an off day [Wednesday] and a [rainout Tuesday], so I felt kind of slow at first," the 2014 first-round pick said. "But by the second inning, I was feeling better, and I just kept going and got six strong."
J.T. Riddle, the Marlins' No. 11 prospect, got the first hit off Newcomb, a dribbler up the middle that Braves shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson got to, but not in time to make the out in the fourth inning.
"I was just trying to attack the zone. If [Riddle] hits a ground ball, it's OK," the University of Hartford product said. "He just hit it to the six-hole. I wasn't too worried about it."
Newcomb admitted he's seen Swanson (Atlanta's No. 1 prospect) and second baseman Ozzie Albies (No. 2) make enough spectacular plays that he was probably due to give up an infield hit.
"It's awesome having him and Ozzie, too," he said. "They always get anything hit out there. It's definitely good having people like Dansby playing behind me."
The Massachusetts native stranded baserunners in the fourth, fifth and sixth, ending his evening by punching out Alex Glenn after No. 4 Miami prospect Brian Anderson reached on a two-out walk.
"It was definitely good to get that out. I knew I was getting kind of high on my pitch count, and I knew that was going to be my last guy," said Newcomb, who threw 67 of 103 pitches for strikes. "[Anderson] had kind of a long at-bat. I was joking, 'I used all my good ones on him.' But I got back in there, and I had enough to finish it."
Connor Lien went 3-for-5 with a double and Willians Astudillo lofted a homer and plated two in support of Newcomb.
The win was the M-Braves' seventh straight, and they've been victorious in 20 of their last 25. At 29-16, they boast the Southern League's best record in the second half and are five games ahead of Mobile in the South Division.
"We've been on a roll. Just keeping it going definitely feels good," Newcomb said. "We're in a good spot in terms of where we stand in the South Division."
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB.