Trevor Reckling had several reasons to celebrate on Saturday night.
The Angels prospect tossed a two-hitter for his first win of the season and first career shutout as the Arkansas Travelers blanked the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 2-0, to sweep their doubleheader.
Reckling (1-6) struck out three, walked two and faced only four batters over the minimum in his eighth start of the season. He retired the first eight batters he faced before Ryan Eigsti doubled with two outs in the third inning. After walking Anthony Seratelli, Reckling retired former first-round pick Christian Colon on a line drive to left field.
"My pitches were all working, but I was really using my fastball a lot," said Reckling, who also throws a changeup and curveball. "The defense played real good behind me."
The 2007 eighth-round Draft pick did not allow another baserunner until the seventh, when Jamie Romak drew a leadoff walk. Nick Francis singled with two outs as the Naturals threatened to spoil the shutout, but Reckling got Kurt Mertins on a liner to center.
"It felt good to the get the first one out of the way," he said. "Hopefully, I can keep rolling. I just stayed with my game plan, which is just try to get after hitters, attack the zone and put guys away."
On the eve of his 22nd birthday, Reckling notched his first victory since his final start of the 2010 season. He's pitched well enough to win this year, allowing three earned runs or fewer in five of his first seven starts.
He called the outing a "good present," something he can "enjoy tomorrow."
Reckling was a Texas League All-Star in 2009, when he finished fourth with a 2.93 ERA. The New Jersey native took a step back last season, going 4-7 with an 8.53 ERA in 14 starts at Triple-A Salt Lake. He returned to Arkansas at the end of June and was 3-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 14 starts.
"I just need to stay on the same page I am now, keep using my fastball, keep working every day on my mechanics and just stay consistent and get the same results as 2009," Reckling said.
"I'm just focused on pitching where I'm at and pitching for the team. Whatever happens happens. I'm in Double-A, so I'm here and just trying to win ballgames with the team."
Top prospect Mike Trout walked twice and scored a run, while Ryan Mount delivered an RBI single for the Travelers, who took the opener, 6-3, en route to their first doubleheader sweep since July 9, 2005.