In 14 starts for UC Riverside this year, Jacob Smigelski averaged over six innings every time he took the mound. That made Thursday night's outing feel like familiar territory.
A 13th-round pick by Miami last month, Smigelski allowed just one hit in five innings, his longest professional outing, as short-season Batavia earned a doubleheader split with Jamestown with a 10-0 win in the finale.
After piggybacking on the starts of left-hander Chris Sadberry for his first three outings, Smigelski earned the starting nod for Thursday's nightcap, a makeup of a game initially rained out July 8.
Following two perfect innings to open his night, Smigelski (2-0) got an early cushion to work with via a five-run Muckdogs second. Ryan Aper doubled in two runs and Victor Castro added a two-out solo homer. Batavia continued the surge with a four-run third highlighted by RBI doubles from Hiram Martinez and Aper.
"We were on a little skid, lost a couple in a row," Smigelski said. "We've been kind of down, so this one is great to get the offense going, throw the ball decently well. The defense was phenomenal tonight, so that was huge. It's good seeing five-spots and four-spots up [on the scoreboard]. That definitely boosts our confidence. It was great for the turnaround, and hopefully we can continue it."
Prior to facing Jamestown, Smigelsku's longest outing of the season had been just three innings, notched in his previous three appearances. With a nine-run advantage and perfect through his first four frames, the right-hander settled into a methodic approach to eat up innings.
"I talked to [catcher Rodrigo] Vigil, and after the second or third inning, we came up with a plan to just execute the fastball and pitch to contact with it," said Smigelski, who struck out four and didn't issue a walk. "That was the plan for the night, and when you're up by nine runs, that's the key. It worked out. The defense played great, and we just kept scoring. That's always nice for a starting pitcher."
Smigelski allowed his first baserunner when Michael Suchy led off with a single in the fifth. Later that inning, Nathan Sopena got aboard on third baseman Martinez's fielding error, but the Glendora, California native struck out Deybi Garcia to end his outing.
"Throwing in college this year, every start I was going seven-plus innings," Smigelski said. "Coming here, it was a little bit of a change, going two or three innings. I wasn't used to it, but tonight, it was a huge confidence booster to get deep in a game and get some confidence with my pitch count and really get my three pitches working."
Josh Hodges finished off the shutout, allowing a hit and a walk while fanning four batters over two innings.
In Thursday's opener, Jamestown's Alex McRae gave up two hits and struck out six without a walk over five scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory.