Austin Hansen entered Monday's start with five consecutive scoreless outings spread across 41 days. He made it six.
The right-handed Houston prospect extended his shutout streak to 27 2/3 innings as Class A Quad Cities blanked Wisconsin, 5-0, at Modern Woodmen Park. It marks the longest scoreless stretch by a River Bandits hurler in 11 years.
Video: Quad Cities' Hansen notches the K
"Just going out and attacking hitters this year," Hansen said of his continuing success. "I worked on developing a changeup in the offseason, and so far, that's been a big part of my development and success. It keeps hitters off my other stuff. I'm getting swings earlier in the count and a lot of guys rolling over it for groundouts. It's made things much easier for me."
The first few innings were a struggle for the 21-year-old, though. Hansen walked three of the first six batters he faced, threw a wild pitch and allowed a steal of third with one out in the second. He rebounded with a strikeout and a groundout that seemed to settle the University of Oklahoma product, who issued one additional free pass and two hits over his final 2 2/3 innings.
Sitting at 86 pitches with two outs in the fifth and runners at second and third, Hansen was lifted in favor of Brett Daniels, who notched a strikeout to close the book on the righty's outing.
Gameday box score
The four walks tied Hansen's season high and he fanned six in 4 2/3 frames. His fifth scoreless outing in six appearances lowered his ERA to 1.01, which would lead the Midwest League if he had enough innings to qualify.
"I've seen a lot about [the scoreless streak] on Twitter," Hansen admitted. "When I was pulled tonight, I had a little extra incentive for wanting Brett to get us out of the inning. Of course, I want to see it continue, but when I'm out there on the mound, I try not to think about it. If I start doing that, I'll be too fine and end up making mistakes that are avoidable."
Posting eye-popping numbers is nothing new for Hansen, who debuted with a 1.76 ERA and an 0.88 WHIP in 14 appearances -- two starts -- for Class A Short Season Tri-City last year. The Kansas native held opponents to a .130 batting average while striking out 45 in 30 2/3 innings. This season, Hansen has struck out 46 over 35 1/3 with a .146 average against.
Saying he's confident but not cocky, Hansen isn't necessarily surprised by the success he's had as a pro thus far.
"Throwing the way I have makes it easy to be sure about yourself," he said. "Even if you give up a hit here and there or some walks, you feel like you're going to make the pitches you need to make to get out of trouble. I prepared myself in the offseason for this and I have confidence that I can get hitters out no matter what level I'm at. My goal isn't to remain in the Midwest League, so I know that I need to keep working on ways to get the batter out."
2019 MiLB include
Daniels (2-3) continued Quad Cities' dominant night on the mound by striking out six over 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander surrendered a hit and one walk en route to completing the River Bandits' eighth shutout of the season.
Austin Dennis doubled twice and finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a stolen base for Quad Cities.
Wisconsin starter Aaron Ashby (3-2) was charged with four runs -- two earned -- on four hits and four walks in six innings. The No. 9 Brewers prospect struck out six and hit a batter during his first loss since April 12.