Wojciechowski, Jays toss two-hitter

First-rounder finding success second time through the league

Asher Wojciechowski has fanned 71 batters over 88 1/3 innings. (Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com | July 11, 2012 7:45 PM ET

Toronto first-round Draft pick Asher Wojciechowski might not have relished the thought of repeating the Florida State League, but he took it in stride.

He knew he had to prove -- to the team as well as himself -- that he could master Class A Advanced before moving on. On Wednesday, he gave the biggest indication that he's about ready for a new challenge.

The 23-year-old allowed two hits while striking out five over a season-high seven innings as Dunedin beat Jupiter, 4-0.

"I wasn't disappointed, but I would have hoped to start in Double-A this year," Wojciechowski said. "But I mean, it is what it is. I've been here four months so far, but it's been good for me because I've been able to work on some things.

"I try to go out there no matter where I am and prove a point that I'm good enough to be a starter and good enough to pitch. I go out there with that mentality every time I pitch."

Wojciechowski (7-2) allowed four baserunners, two in the first and fifth innings, but none of them advanced past second base.

Mark Canha followed Christian Yelich's first-inning walk with a single to right field, but Toronto's No. 10 prospect retired Aaron Dudley to keep the Hammerheads off the board.

After three perfect innings, Wojciechowski issued a free pass to Jacob Realmuto to begin the fifth frame, but he induced a 6-4-3 double-play ball off the bat of Noah Perio to erase the threat.

"Both hits were mistakes," he said. "The first was a fastball up in the zone that I left middle-in. The second was a slider that I left up and was hit down the line.

"But I got a lot of ground balls to my second baseman [Jon Berti] and a lot of good defensive plays behind me. I also got some run support and you can't win games without scoring runs."

The outing lowered his ERA to 3.57 as he won his fifth game in six starts. The native of Charleston, S.C., has allowed six runs -- five earned -- over that stretch, with his ERA dropping from a lofty 5.23.

The twin killing proved to be important as next batter Alfredo Lopez laced a double to right field. But that was as far as any Jupiter hitter got against Wojciechowski, who set down the final seven batters he faced.

"This was up there with probably some of my best numbers I've had in my pro career," he said. "In terms of my stuff and how I felt, it was just an average day. But my results were good and I made pitches when I needed to.

"My fastball was a little off tonight through the first three innings. I wasn't hitting my spots, but I was throwing strikes. I was able to throw my slider and changeup for strikes and keep hitters off balance when I needed to."

Selected by the Blue Jays 41st overall in the 2010 Draft, Wojciechowski is in his third year of pro ball. After pitching only 12 innings for short-season Auburn in the New York-Penn League in 2010, the right-hander went 11-9 with a 4.70 ERA in 25 games -- including 22 starts -- with Dunedin last year.

Wojciechowski is using his second season in the Florida State League to develop his changeup and prepare for the challenges that await him in Double-A New Hampshire.

"I feel like my changeup has really developed since I got to pro ball," he explained. "I didn't need to throw it much in college, but since then I've developed a good feel for it and I'm throwing it a lot more. I think it's been good for me.

"I just have to go out there and minimize my mistakes, hit my spots and have the same mindset of competing and playing with enthusiasm. If I keep pitching like I am, hopefully a spot will open up for me at Double-A."

On Wednesday, Dayton Marze pitched a perfect eighth in relief of The Citadel product, and Dustin Antolin worked around a two-out walk and an infield single to complete the shutout.

Center fielder Michael Crouse went 2-for-4 with a homer -- his sixth of the year -- and right fielder Jonathan Jones recorded a pair of hits and scored twice in the victory.

Jupiter starter Juan Oviedo (0-1) allowed a run on one hit and a walk over 1 2/3 innings in the loss.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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