Everything is starting to come together for Michael Mader.
The Marlins' No. 12 prospect spun eight three-hit innings for his first win since May 29 as Class A Greensboro edged West Virginia, 1-0, on Saturday night at NewBridge Bank Park.
"I felt pretty good. It was the first I've gone [eight] in my career, so it was nice to be able to go back out there for one more inning and give our team a chance because it was still a 0-0 ballgame at the time," he said. "I'd said it's probably the best start of my career with confidence and having all three pitches, fastball on both sides of the plate."
Mader (4-7) allowed six baserunners, walking Pablo Reyes in the first and plunking Jeff Roy in the third before Michael Suchy reached on first baseman K.J. Woods' error in the fourth. He kept the hits sparse, going 19 batters without allowing one after Jerrick Suiter singled in the second.
"I got a little out of control on that one pitch [to Roy], but then I settled down and just really controlled my fastball a lot better than I had this year, working both sides of the plate -- both inside and away -- keeping the hitters uncomfortable," Mader said. "And mixing off-speeds kept them really unbalanced."
Pitching in the eighth for the first time in his two-year career, Mader allowed a one-out single to Tyler Filliben and a double to Pirates No. 28 prospect Taylor Gushue.
"I was just like, 'Man, I want to get through this inning.' I was hoping the coach wouldn't come out there," Mader said. "We had one out, second and third and they had a lefty up, so I knew I had this guy, no matter what. So I just wanted to get the punchout and then whoever came in would take care of the rest."
On the second pitch, Mader got Roy to line into an inning-ending double play. Center fielder Zach Sullivan made the catch, then threw out Filliben trying to score.
"It was huge. It really helped out because in the bottom of the eighth we scored that run on [Rony] Cabrera's double and I think it was a huge momentum switch," the 21-year-old southpaw said. "Everybody in the stands got really loud, all the players got really hyped about it, so I think that really carried it."
The Grasshoppers turned three double plays behind Mader, who faced three batters over the minimum and threw 95 pitches.
A Florida native, Mader has had an up and down season. He's logged six quality starts but seven in which he didn't complete five innings. However, July appears to be the 2014 first-round pick's best month yet as he's held South Atlantic League foes to two earned runs over 19 innings in three starts this month.
"I think the biggest reason my season's been up and down is I haven't had my curveball as much as I would've liked to this season and my changeup has gone away," Mader said. "But the past three outings, I've had all three pitches and it's been a huge difference, and I think it's a turning point, for sure."
After Sullivan led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk and moved to second on John Norwood's sacrifice, Cabrera put Mader in line for his first win since May 29 with an RBI double.
Kyle Fischer secured the victory -- and his sixth save -- by working around a leadoff hit in the ninth.