Ryan Rolison wasted no time making an impact for Class A Asheville, and he may have raised some eyebrows higher up in the Colorado organization.
The sixth-ranked Rockies prospect was perfect in his full-season debut on Friday, striking out four over five innings, as the Tourists blanked Augusta, 5-0, at McCormick Field.
Rolison (1-0) was efficient, throwing 38 of 54 pitches for strikes, which was his focus coming into the game.
"I was just trying to fill up the zone as much as I could, get ahead of batters and keeping them guessing at the plate and let my defense work behind me," he said. "That was my game plan going in and it worked out for me."
Gameday box score
The 22nd overall selection from last year's Draft picked up where he left off with Rookie Advanced Grand Junction. Over 29 innings last summer, the left-hander allowed 15 hits while striking out 34. He compiled a 1.86 ERA and .149 opponents' batting average.
With four pitches in his arsenal, the 21-year-old Ole Miss product felt ready to apply lessons he learned during Spring Training.
"We were working on how to locate my fastball glove side and kind of open up the plate for me," Rolison said. "We also worked on the changeup and being able to throw it for a strike. I did those two things well tonight."
Tourists pitching didn't falter when Rolison departed after the fifth. Boby Johnson tossed two innings, striking out two and allowing two hits. PJ Poulin worked around a hit by striking out the side in the eighth and Alexander Martinez shut the door with a perfect ninth.
Rolison received run support early, as Asheville scored three times in the bottom of the first. Will Golsan drew a leadoff walk and took third on a single by No. 14 Rockies prospect Terrin Vavra. Reigning Pioneer League MVP Coco Montes plated Golsan with a double, and No. 5 prospect Grant Lavigne delivered a two-run single.
"When you have an offense like that to put three runs on the board," Rolison said, "it just gives you confidence to go back out there, fill up the zone and let your defense work behind me when you have that lead."
Golsan produced again in the fifth, homering over the right-center field wall for his first South Atlantic League dinger. Hunter Stovall capped the scoring in the eighth by bringing in No. 28 Rockies prospect Willie MacIver with an infield single.
2019 MiLB include
For Rolison, performing well and earning the win in his first Class A game was great, but his goals are to be able to replicate the success on a regular basis.
"Just going out there and being consistent, trying to let the highs not be too high and the lows too low," the southpaw said. "Stay consistent with everything I do and the routine I'm on and try to have the best year that I can."