Dylan Bundy's dance with Nick Ahmed in Friday's third inning told the story of the top pitching prospect's third Carolina League start.
Bundy fell behind, 3-0, battled back with his heater, then left a 3-2 changeup over the plate and Ahmed became the second Minor Leaguer take him deep this season.
Despite working with an unusually lackluster repertoire, Bundy picked up his second win in three starts with the Frederick Keys, who posted a 5-3 victory at Lynchburg in the first game of a doubleheader.
"I wasn't pitching inside very well and they were leaning out over the plate," said Bundy, who allowed two runs on four hits over five innings, walking three and striking out five. "I had to battle. I didn't have my best stuff."
What's the solution when he doesn't have that fastball and off-speed pitches that wow scouts?
"Focus more on locating pitches if I don't have my A-plus pitches," he said.
Bundy survived the first inning, despite a single and two stolen bases, but Lynchburg broke through with runs in the second and third off the Orioles' top pitching prospect. Edward Salcedo picked up the Hillcats' first hit with a one-out double in the second and Braeden Schlehuber followed with another double to right, marking the third straight game Bundy has allowed a run after working 30 scoreless innings at Class A Delmarva.
Ahmed added the one-out solo homer off Bundy an inning later and, after two walks and a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position, the 19-year-old right-hander struck out Salcedo to end the inning.
Travis Shaw of the Salem Red Sox was the first to homer off Bundy, connecting in the Class A Advanced debut of MLB.com's No. 8 overall prospect on May 26.
Bundy walked the leadoff man in the fourth but fielded a bunt and turned it into a double play. After a 1-2-3 fifth, including an inning-ending strikeout of Tommy La Stella, his night was over.
The Oklahoma native said he threw 81 pitches, an unseemly total in his eyes.
"I don't want to be there," he said. "At five innings, I want to be at 60, 65."
In 15 innings since his promotion, Bundy is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 15 innings. He's walked four, allowed four runs on 13 hits while holding opponents to a .170 average.
Good numbers, but not quite the impeccable ones he produced in the South Atlantic League, where he struck out 40 and walked only two batters in eight games.
"I've definitely had to lean more on my off-speed pitches at High-A," he said. "I'm definitely learning as I'm going along."