A bad outing earlier in the week didn't seem to weigh on Ryan Carpenter at all Saturday.
The Rays prospect bounced back from one of his worst starts of the season with his best against Fort Wayne, striking out a season-high nine and allowing two hits over seven innings in Bowling Green's 4-0 win.
Saturday's effort came five nights after Carpenter surrendered seven runs on nine hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings in a 9-5 loss at Dayton.
"That's been one of my big focuses, bouncing back after a bad start and not letting it hang over your head, getting composed and getting back at it," said Carpenter, a seventh-round pick in last year's Draft. "It was probably my best start so far as far as having control, attacking hitters, staying ahead and staying focused."
Carpenter (6-3) has posted wins after each of his three losses this season. He gave up two runs on two hits over five innings on May 15, five days after getting roughed up for nine runs in 2 2/3 frames.
The Gonzaga University product brought his ERA down to 3.82 over 15 appearances. He said he didn't rely on any particular offering as an out pitch Saturday, instead using his full repertoire with greater command than at any other point this year.
His velocity generally sat between 88-91 mph.
"I worked mainly with my fastball, used a few cutters, a few curveballs and some changeups at the end," he said. "I just stayed ahead and worked inside. I kept attacking them, didn't let them get comfortable and stuck to that approach."
Carpenter also said that erasing the memory of his outing against the Dragons was particularly nice in a game that clinched a postseason berth for the Hot Rods.
"I've had probably about 11 solid [starts] and two pretty bad ones, and it's all about how you bounce back," he said. "Work hard in between starts, stay on the grind, get better."
Over 75 1/3 innings, the 21-year-old southpaw ranks fourth in the Midwest League with 69 strikeouts against only 11 walks. He said he felt limiting free passes is one of his strengths.
"That was a huge focus before the year even started, just not falling behind, [managing] walk rates and pitch counts," Carpenter added.
Last year with short-season Hudson Valley, he registered a 0.76 ERA over 23 2/3 innings in his professional debut. He struck out 26 and walked four, making eight appearances, including four starts, in the New York-Penn League.
Relievers Andrew Bellatti and Austin Hubbard each tossed a scoreless frame to complete the shutout for the Hot Rods. The top of the order set the pace offensively, with leadoff man Ryan Brett going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored and Jake Hager contributing three hits and two RBIs.