Julian Garcia got off to a hot start in his second year with Class A Short Season Williamsport but ran into a rough patch in his past two starts, allowing nine runs over six innings."I lost my command a little bit up in the zone," he said. "Kind of just
Julian Garcia got off to a hot start in his second year with Class A Short Season Williamsport but ran into a rough patch in his past two starts, allowing nine runs over six innings.
"I lost my command a little bit up in the zone," he said. "Kind of just getting back into just spotting up with the fastball and getting my velo back up -- it's been down the last couple starts."
Gameday box score
The Phillies prospect seemed to figure it out on Sunday, tossing five hitless innings and recording a career-high 11 strikeouts in the Crosscutters' 4-1 win over West Virginia at BB&T Ballpark. Garcia improved to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.38 with 47 strikeouts over 32 innings in seven starts.
"I kind of just got my command back and got my curveball back down in the zone and I just went with it," he said. "I had good fastball command. I got ahead early in the count, then had the curveball and slider working, so that helped out."
Sunday's strikeout total eclipsed Garcia's previous high of nine, which he set on June 28 in a six-inning start against Batavia. The 2016 10th-round pick said he found a sequence that seemed to work well to set up strikeouts.
"Getting ahead with the fastball, then just kind of spotting it in and out, then maybe go with an 0-2 curveball or slider, depending on that guy's swing," he said. "I'd go inside, maybe on 0-2, but a lot of times go with the off-speed stuff."
Although the 22-year-old did a good job of keeping the Black Bears out of the hit column, he had to work out of the stretch in four of his five innings. Four walks, one of which was intentional, an error and a wild third strike put six Black Bears on base while Garcia was on the mound.
Garcia faced one batter over the minimum through three innings. With one out in the first, he fanned Jared Oliva, who reached on a curveball that got away from catcher Rodolfo Duran. He came back to punch out the next two batters.
Bligh Madris walked with one out in the second but was thrown out by Duran trying to steal second. Garcia fanned Chris Sharpe and pitched a 1-2-3 third.
Oliva reached on another error to start the fourth, this time on a wild throw by third baseman Cole Stobbe, and Garcia walked Deon Stafford before striking out Dylan Busby. Tristan Gray popped out, but a wild pitch put runners in scoring position and Garcia intentionally walked Madris to load the bases for Robbie Glendinning.
"With the bases loaded there, you kind of just have to play with it, just bear down and make your pitches," Garcia said. "Just believing in yourself and just going out there and throwing strike one. Get ahead and go with it from there."
Garcia whiffed Glendinning on six pitches and worked around a four-pitch walk to Jose Barraza with three straight strikeouts to complete his outing. He threw 54 of 86 pitches for strikes and left with the no-hitter intact.
"Obviously, you want to go back out there and see what you can do," Garcia said. "But you got to settle with what you did."
• Get tickets to a Williamsport Crosscutters game »
The Crosscutters turned to David Parkinson in the sixth and the left-hander surrendered a leadoff double to Stafford, who also homered off the left-hander in the eighth. Connor Brogdon walked one and struck out one in a hitless ninth for his first professional save.
Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4.