Mark Thursday night as another step forward in Hunter Greene’s development.
Many, many steps remain, but the talent is tantalizing for the 2017 first-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds.
In his eighth start for the Dayton Dragons, the righty struck out six and walked two. He allowed four hits, including a home run with one out in the top of the fifth inning by Lake County’s Tyler Friis.
After Oscar Gonzalez singled to right, Greene’s night was done.
He threw a career-high 73 pitches, 50 for strikes.
He pitched into the fifth inning for the first time in his professional career but is still looking for his first win. He left trailing 1-0.
Greene hit triple digits with his fastball multiple times, and the Captains rarely made hard contact.
Aside from Friis’ home run, a high fly that hit off the top of the wall, Will Benson got the best swing on Greene, socking one to centerfielder Stuart Fairchild to start the second inning.
Jose Vicente followed Benson’s laser by slapping a single through the hole on the left side, and Greene found himself in trouble when Dragons second baseman Jeter Downs threw away a potential double-play ball off the bat of Jose Medina.
With runners on the corners and one out, Greene bore down, striking out Jonathan Laureano looking before blowing away Miguel Eladio with three straight fastballs, the last of which was measured at 101 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun.
Greene also stranded two in the third inning when JJ Berardi singled and Nolan Jones walked ahead of Benson, the first-round pick of the Cleveland Indians two years ago.
He got the heater three times in a row, taking it for a strike before back-to-back swings and misses to end the inning.
After three straight poor outings, Greene has been strong in two of his last three, and he credited making better use of scouting reports and a more consistent routine.
On May 12, Green shut out Peoria over four innings, walking none and striking out five while giving up just two hits.
A week later, Greene gave up four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks in 3.1 innings against Great Lakes.