Batters often talk about the holes in their swings. Luke Jackson put holes in their bats Tuesday.
The Rangers' No. 16 prospect recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts and allowed one run on one hit over five innings as Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach defeated Wilmington, 7-2.
Jackson, who walked three and hit a batter, allowed only Juan Graterol's RBI single with one out in the second. He settled down and fanned the next six batters before Brett Eibner drew a one-out walk in the fourth.
"The biggest thing was that I was calm," Jackson said. "I was throwing strikes, Nick [catcher Brett Nicholas] was putting down the right fingers and I had the whole package tonight."
Jackson, selected 45th overall in the 2010 Draft, surpassed his previous high of 10 strikeouts, set on June 16, 2011 while pitching for Class A Hickory.
"When I would get to 0-2, I kind of amped it up a little more," Jackson said. "The curveball was there, Nicholas was blocking them all in the dirt. Besides that, I felt pretty good up there. I think it was split pretty evenly between fastball and the curveball, they both worked off each other pretty well."
Promoted to the Carolina League on June 25, Jackson (2-1) has allowed three runs or fewer in four of his five starts for Myrtle Beach.
"I've been flipping the switch from throwing to pitching and not over-amping on the fastball," the 20-year-old right-hander said. "I need to place it instead of amping it up.
"I just credit the catcher for the first two starts here; they were all right. The next one was rough and I've turned the page. Now I'm calm and collected instead of being wiry and all over the place."
Francisco Mendoza gave up two hits over two scoreless innings and Kyle Devore allowed a run on two hits over the final two frames for the Pelicans.
Nicholas went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Tomas Telis had three hits and drove in two runs.
Cheslor Cuthbert, the Royals' No. 5 prospect, slugged a solo homer for the Blue Rocks.