According to Danny Hultzen, his job is to keep the Generals in the game. He more than fulfilled that role Wednesday.
The Mariners' No. 1 prospect fanned a career-high 12 batters and surrendered a run on five hits over six innings as Jackson fell to Montgomery, 2-1, in 12 innings.
After walking Hak-Ju Lee to open the game and giving up a one-out single to Omar Luna, Hultzen recorded five consecutive strikeouts. The 22-year-old left-hander issued one walk, tying a season low.
"Just getting ahead and attacking the hitters, I think that's the name of the game, at least as far as I'm concerned," Hultzen said. "[Catcher] Jesus Sucre galled a great game behind the plate."
The second overall pick in last June's Draft, Hultzen had not reached double digits in strikeout as a pro. He fanned nine April 13 against Tennessee. While the Maryland native was happy with his success, that came secondary to him.
"It's a nice personal achievement, but I'm more happy that I was able to put my team in a position to win," Hultzen said. "Unfortunately we didn't come out on top but that's my job, to get our team out there and keep the other team at bay."
After walking 23 guys in his first seven starts, Hultzen has issued just two free passes over his last two outings. Command has been something that the Virginia University product has been aware of.
"Early in the year when I was struggling with my command, I was falling behind and getting predictable in my pitches," Hultzen said. "The first few starts I was walking four, five, I think I even walked seven in one game, and that's unacceptable. I can't be doing that and expect to succeed. Hopefully I can cut that down even more, maybe to zero, one day."
Sucre was 2-for-4 and drove in the Generals' lone run with a single in the sixth.
Joseph Cruz didn't factor into the decision after allowing one hit and fanning eight over six innings for the Biscuits.
Michael Sheridan delivered the winning blow for Montgomery with a walk-off homer in the 12th.