Corey Oswalt appears to have this pitching thing down.
The 20-year-old right-hander from San Diego extended his season-opening scoreless innings streak to 13 Monday night, but the Brooklyn Cyclones had their six-game winning streak snapped with a 1-0, 10-inning loss to visiting Hudson Valley in front of 5,289 fans at Coney Island’s MCU Park.
"I faced this team the first outing, so I stuck to the same game plan as the first time," Oswalt told MiLB.com, referring to his Brooklyn debut in which he tossed six scoreless frames in a 5-1 victory over these same Renegades last Tuesday night.
"I threw a lot of two-seam [fastballs], mixed my off-speed pitches in well and trusted what my catcher was putting down,” he added after limiting Hudson Valley to three hits and a walk during his second outing.
"It makes a big difference [facing the same team] because I know the hitters' tendencies. My pitching style is to pump the zone and pitch to contact."
As much as the 6-foot-4 former high school infielder seeks out opponents’ bats, he has been just as efficient at missing them.
Through his first 13 innings at the Class A Advanced level, Oswalt has amassed 14 strikeouts and only one walk while surrendering just six hits.
And to think, Oswalt never even considered standing on the mound when he committed to the University of California-Santa Barbara following a standout career at Madison High School, where he starred in the field and at the plate.
But the Mets came calling in the seventh round of the 2012 Draft that June and, Oswalt ceded to their request to convert to a full-time pitcher.
Of course, receiving a healthy bonus check made the decision a tad easier.
"Growing up, I always played a position," Oswalt, who spent his first two pro seasons at Rookie-level Kingsport, told MiLB. "I loved hitting. It's helped my pitching game because I know hitters' tendencies and I know what they are looking for in certain counts. I know what they're trying to do at the plate.
"Going into my senior year [of high school], I had a couple outings on the mound to raise my stock going into the Draft,” he revealed. “I guess they liked what they saw ... and I stuck with it. I've always had a strong arm in the infield. It was my decision, [mine] and my parents and my uncle."
The Cyclones (8-3) are certainly glad Oswalt opted for the mound as he has helped lead them to the top of the McNamara Division through 11 games.
Brooklyn appeared on the verge of a seventh consecutive win Monday with reigning Player of the Week Michael Bernal at the plate with a runner on in the bottom of the ninth.
But Bernal, who is batting a sizzling .333 with a homer and team-high seven RBIs, grounded out to end the frame before the Renegades (7-4) got a two-out RBI double from Clayton Henning to snap the scoreless deadlock in the top of the 10th.
Brooklyn went down in order in the bottom half for its first loss since a sloppy 7-2 loss to Staten Island on June 16.
Following that admittedly humbling defeat, first-year manager Tom Gamboa’s squad swept back-to-back three-game sets from the Renegades and Aberdeen, posting a pair of one-run victories in the process, including Sunday night’s 2-1 triumph over the IronBirds.
Bernal belted his first homer of the season in that contest after coming through with a go-ahead 10th-inning RBI single on Saturday at Aberdeen.
His breakout game came Friday night in the series opener against the IronBirds as he went 4-for-5 with three extra-base hits, including a two-run triple in the opening frame that paved the way for Brooklyn’s 7-6 win.
The Cyclones will look to bounce back quickly from their loss to the Renegades, visiting Hudson Valley on Tuesday night before returning home to host Aberdeen on Wednesday.
All tickets for Wednesday’s IronBirds game cost just $10, and the first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a limited edition All-Star Game stackable cup, the first of a six-cup set as Brooklyn prepares to host the NY-Penn All-Star Game later this summer.
To purchase tickets for Wednesday night or any other Brooklyn Cyclones game this season, call 718-507-TIXX, visit the box office at MCU Park or log on to BrooklynCyclones.com.
This, That and the Other Thing: Bernal, who signed with the Mets as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, was batting a paltry .211 before putting together an 8-for-17 stretch over his last four games. … Getting into the spirit of the World Cup fever which has hit Brooklyn the past several weeks, the good folks at MCU Park will hand out specially designed Cyclones soccer jerseys to the first 3,000 fans in attendance at Thursday’s game against Aberdeen, which starts at 7 p.m. … RHP Scarlyn Reyes (0-1) took the loss Monday night despite yielding a run on three hits with five strikeouts over three solid innings of relief. Reyes, who may eventually find his way into Brooklyn’s starting rotation, has fanned nine over six innings of one-run relief and boasts a 1.50 ERA following his first two outings.