In a game in which he did not allow many baserunners, Joe Biagini said he was most satisfied with the way he pitched out of the stretch.
The Giants prospect gave up one hit and two walks while striking out two over seven innings Friday night as Class A Augusta routed Savannah, 11-0.
Biagini (2-0) gave up a leadoff single in the top of the first to Yucary De La Cruz and hit Eudy Pina with a pitch. After fanning Maikis De La Cruz, he walked Kevin Plawecki to load the bases. And at that point, things did not look good for a pitcher who entered the game with a 6.38 ERA.
But Biagini (2-0) came back to retire the next two batters on line drives.
"The first inning, I was in the stretch and it was a battle to stay over myself and stay in a position to compete," he said. "It felt good to be getting into a groove, I haven't experienced that much. After the first, the innings started going quickly."
The right-hander, who turns 23 on May 29, walked Jeff Reynolds with one out in the second, then retired the next 16 batters before turning things over to the GreenJackets bullpen.
Biagini has struggled with runners on base, allowing South Atlantic League foes to hit .340 in those situations. With no on one, that number drops precipitously to .141.
"They just want me to stay over myself mechanically," Biagini said. "Sometimes I go off to the side a little bit and don't keep my shoulder in. It's not a huge deal, it's making sure that I'm going toward the plate and everything is consistent as I release the ball."
In his previous three starts, the 2012 26th-round Draft pick had allowed 11 earned runs on 13 hits over 8 1/3 innings. The biggest difference on Friday, Biagini said, was his work with runners on base -- even if there weren't that many of them.
"I think honestly it was more of the stretch," he explained. "I believe that my windup has been pretty effective. Half of my innings, I've noticed, there haven't been a lot of runners on base, which is nice. When I was getting into the stretch, I was getting into trouble. My struggles this season have been consistency from the stretch. If that happens and my stretch is not effective, it turns into a big inning.
"As I've learned over the years, you make your most important pitches out of the stretch. It hasn't been terrible, but it would be nice to improve my consistency and I believe that I'm going in the right direction. It's always nice not to have to go the stretch."
Biagini has plenty of ties to the Giants. His father, Robert, pitched in the organization in 1981-82, getting as far as Class A Advanced Fresno. And as a kid in Santa Clara, Calif., he was a fan.
"I grew up being a Giants fan my whole life," Biagini said. "I watched Jeff Kent and [Barry] Bonds and Rich Aurilia and Jason Schmidt and all those guys. I was really happy, my family was happy with the Giants, more or less staying local. To get the chance to play for the team I rooted for as a kid is amazing. God has blessed me with the chance to do that."
Ian Gardeck tossed a hitless eighth and Stephen Johnson struck out one and walked one in the ninth to close out Augusta's fourth shutout of the season.
Offensively, Mitchell Delfino slugged a grand slam and Ben Turner went 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBIs for the first-place GreenJackets.