Jon Moscot woke up Sunday morning feeling under the weather. Then he went out and produced his best start of the season.
The Reds prospect allowed three hits over eight innings in matching the longest outing of his career as Double-A Pensacola blanked visiting Mississippi, 2-0.
"I was getting ahead of hitters early. They were hitting balls into the ground and the defense was great behind me, made a lot of great plays," Moscot said. "I was able to throw my off-speed [pitches] for strikes."
The 22-year-old right-hander induced 10 groundouts while striking out four and issuing one walk. He allowed two hits to Kyle Kubitza -- the Braves' No. 11 prospect who hit his first two Double-A homers on Saturday -- as well as a single to Braeden Schlehuber. But he sent the Blue Wahoos on the way to their second shutout of the season.
"I love it, I think it's easier to pitch," Moscot said of pitching in a close game. "You have to stay intense, you have to stay focused. Everyone is involved [and] you have to throw strikes."
The Pepperdine product, who also threw eight scoreless innings for Class A Advanced Bakersfield last July 27, lowered his ERA to 2.08. He has 22 strikeouts over 30 1/3 innings while holding Southern League foes to a .204 batting average.
After making 22 starts in the California League last season, Moscot (1-1) moved up to the Southern League and went 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six starts. Across both levels, he led all Reds Minor Leaguers with 140 strikeouts.
"Last year, I came up and the organization told me to get my feet wet, just get used to everything. I was with a very veteran team, so I learned a lot," the California native said. "It's all about throwing strikes. The strike zone is smaller here, with these umpires."
Although he went 0-for-2, Moscot helped himself at the plate. He reached on an error by Kubitza at third base that scored Juan Silverio with the game's first run in the fifth inning.
"I absolutely love hitting. I love joking around with the guys," Moscot said. "In batting practice, I swing for the fences all the time."
Newly promoted Beau Amaral scored the Wahoos' other run in the eighth on a single by Steve Selsky. The 2012 seventh-round pick doubled for his first Double-A hit to get in scoring position.
Amaral, whose father, Rich, played 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, began the season with Class A Dayton. In 17 Midwest League games, the UCLA product hit .329/.377/.529 with nine extra-base hits and nine stolen bases.
"It's so, so cool," Moscot said of his best friend since college. "When he got called up the other day, it was unreal. He's the best center fielder I've ever seen. Every ball he takes in BP, he takes it real. It's just awesome to have him."
While Moscot thought he could try for first career complete game, he was lifted after throwing 98 pitches. Jamie Walczak breezed through the ninth for his first Double-A save.
Braves starter Williams Perez (2-2) took the loss, despite giving up an unearned run on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts over seven innings.