Ryan Olson brings a certain fearlessness into his approach on the mound -- staying in the zone and daring every batter to hit his best pitch -- and that has brought early success through two starts."I go out there and don't really care who's in the box, I'm not really
Ryan Olson brings a certain fearlessness into his approach on the mound -- staying in the zone and daring every batter to hit his best pitch -- and that has brought early success through two starts.
"I go out there and don't really care who's in the box, I'm not really afraid of anybody," the Cal Poly Pomona product said. "I'm going to make them beat me; I'm not going to give any free passes. That's just going to be my M.O. going out there, just going to attack the hitters and make them beat me."
Making his second professional start, Olson tossed a nine-inning complete game on Friday as Class A Dayton blanked Great Lakes, 2-0, at Dow Diamond. The 22-year-old gave up four hits and a walk while striking out three and faced just one batter over the minimum. He's allowed only seven baserunners in 16 scoreless frames to start his career.
"It's nice getting your feet wet and doing well, but it's still a long season," Olson said. "It's still a long ways to go, but I'm definitely happy with the start and happy with the team. We're winning games it's a lot of fun."
The nine-inning complete game was the first in April in the Dragons' 18-year history and the first of any kind since Wendolyn Bautistashut out Bowling Green last Aug. 26. Olson found success pitching to contact with his sinker, getting the Loons to ground out 11 times, including three double plays.
"I only throw sinkers, so I was like I'm going to make these guys beat me with it and show that they can hit it before I mix it up. So I threw a lot of them," he said.
The right-hander was wary of his pitch count through two innings. He allowed a one-out single to Brendon Davis in the opening frame but promptly got Carlos Rincon to bounce into a double play.
Oneil Cruz drew an eight-pitch walk leading off the second for Great Lakes but was erased on a pickoff. Olson struck out Cody Thomas on six pitches and got Keibert Ruiz to ground out on the next pitch. He needed only five pitches to get through the third and find his groove.
"From there, it kind of just took off," Olson said.
Olson surrendered a one-out single to Ruiz in the fifth, then got Moises Perez to hit into the Loons' third double play, beginning a streak of 13 consecutive batters retired to finish the game. Great Lakes' six left-handed hitters went 1-for-18 against the right-hander.
"I was just working off that sinker and my changeup, they got the same movement on it," Olson said. "They had [a lot of] lefties in their lineup, so I threw a lot of changeups to them. It worked well and I was fortunate enough to get through all nine and I kept the pitch count down."
Olson suffered a stress fracture to his lower spine that prematurely ended his junior season in college after five starts. The Reds selected him in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, then waited until Sunday to see his professional debut as which he struck out nine over seven scoreless innings. He said he felt no pain in his back following Friday's start.
Dayton did all of its scoring in the sixth on a two-run single by Reds No. 8 prospectTyler Stephenson.
Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4.