Sunday may have been Stephen McCray's second professional start, but it probably won't be his last.
The 16th-round pick this year's Draft allowed two baserunners over six hitless innings as the Great Falls Voyagers cruised to a 9-4 victory over the Helena Brewers.
After breezing through the opening inning, McCray hit Shea Vucinich with a pitch leading off the second. He bounced back by getting Michael Walker to bounce into a fielder's choice, retired Greg Hopkins on a fly ball to center field and struck out Gerald Ogrinc.
"Basically, the main thing was that I was able to move in and out with my fastball," McCray said. "My secondary pitches, the slider and changeup, I was able to throw them for strikes and mix them in well."
McCray (3-2) retired the next nine batters before Brandon Sizemore reached on first baseman Ryan Hamme's error to open the sixth. After two flyouts, Randall Thorpe became the 22-year-old right-hander's sixth strikeout victim.
McCray's night ended after only 61 pitches.
In two seasons at the University of Tennessee, McCray went 10-7. As a senior, he posted a 3.04 ERA in 14 starts, but he's pitched mainly in relief for the Voyagers, going 2-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 11 games.
"I got accustomed to being in the bullpen, but I always prefer to be the starter," he said.
McCray's first start came on Aug. 3 when he allowed two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits with four strikeouts in four innings.
"(I was) keeping the ball down and being able to hit my spots with my fastball (tonight)," he said. "I throw the majority of sinkers and if I can keep it down, I get a lot of ground balls. Last week, I left a lot of balls up and they hit the ball into the gap a couple of times."
Nelson Curry came on in the seventh for Great Falls (29-18) and allowed four runs on three hits before Jacob Wilson fanned three over two hitless frames.
Rafael Vera and Michael Earley homered for the Voyagers, while Ross Wilson doubled twice, singled twice and drove in a pair of runs.