Sean Reid-Foley pitched in just about every environment the Eastern League had to offer a year ago, going wire-to-wire with 27 starts. Repeating the level to begin 2018, he looked poised to conquer it.
The Blue Jays' No. 10 prospect allowed one hit over six scoreless innings and No. 3 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered as Double-A New Hampshire completed a four-game sweep of Hartford with a 4-2 win on Sunday. Reid-Foley struck out seven and worked around three walks.
Gameday box score
"It was good, could've been a little bit better," he said. "I gave away the three walks. Those at-bats got away from me a little bit, but I was just giving my team a chance to win. At the end of the day, my defense and offensive players came through. It was awesome, fun to be a part of. This is a good team."
Reid-Foley went 10-11 with a 5.09 ERA last year for the Fisher Cats and only three times turned in scoreless outings of six innings or more, never with fewer than three hits. Sunday's debut was the continuation of his biggest point of emphasis from the offseason.
Video: Reid-Foley finishes six scoreless
"If I was going to miss, they had to be in a safe zone," he said. "I really worked on that in Spring Training and kind of scuffled with it. I was leaving a lot of stuff over the middle, and today the biggest emphasis to pitch off of was staying out of the middle of the plate. Down and away, getting over the baseball. If you can get down and away, it's a tough pitch for hitters to handle.
"Success is a lot better to attain -- I won't say easier against hitters -- but I'd say it's better to be down and away on hitters. That's what I need to work on and keep crafting into my game."
Hartford never had multiple baserunners in the same inning and put only three in scoring position against Reid-Foley. Rockies No. 7 prospect Garrett Hampson stole two bases, but Reid-Foley otherwise kept runners in place.
"Whenever runners got on, I was really good about holding the ball on the mound and switching up my times to make sure they couldn't run on me," the right-hander said. "I didn't make sticky situations for myself. I think I handled that pretty well and just slowed down the game."
The Fisher Cats' offense got going to put Reid-Foley in the win column after his final inning. Cavan Biggio belted a two-run homer in a three-run seventh and Guerrero -- the Jays' top prospect -- mashed a solo shot in the eighth. Second-ranked Bo Bichette notched his third straight two-hit game.
"I've played with Bo Bichette since I was 16 or 17," said Reid-Foley, who was teammates with Bichette on a travel ball squad in Florida five years ago. "He almost grew up in front of my eyes and it's been a lot of fun. Now the additions of Vlad and Biggio, it's pretty fun. Everyone on our team is a good group. We've got a couple guys competing that are on the defensive side and offensive side that are pretty good. All the newcomers up top are pretty good. They're all a good group of dudes that are fun to play with. Everybody's all smiles, no matter what's going on."
Video: New Hampshire's Guerrero powers first homer
New Hampshire outhit the Yard Goats on Sunday, 10-5, and outscored them, 18-6, en route to the season-opening sweep.
For Reid-Foley, the victory was the first step in a year he hopes leads to the next level.
"Repeating my delivery and getting over the baseball and being down and away [is most important]," he said. "If I'm down and away, it's a lot better success rate on everything that goes on with everything that I'm doing.
"It puts myself in a good spot."
Andrew Case got the last out of the eighth and retired three of four batters in the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.