EVERETT — George Kirby dazzled in his professional debut with the Everett Aquasox.
The Seattle Mariners’ first-round pick in June’s MLB draft pitched two innings, allowed one hit, no runs and struck out two in his debut and the AquaSox beat the Vancouver Canadians 6-2 on Saturday at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium.
The right-hander from Elon University was happy with his performance, but said there’s always room for improvement.
“I felt really good out there. I felt like I had good command,” Kirby said. “I left a few over the middle, gave up a hit … so we can always get better.”
It was obvious during his warm-ups why the Mariners spent the 20th overall pick on Kirby — he loves to live around the strike zone.
Kirby also followed the old pitching mantra, “Live low, live long,” as most of his strikes were down around the knees. Even his misses were in good spots, most of them were down and away from the Vancouver hitters.
Kirby’s fastball topped out at 96 mph, according to Trackman, and his secondary pitches — he throws a slider, changeup and curveball — all made appearances.
Kirby said he would like to get more command over his secondary pitches in his next outing.
As for the adjustment from college to the pros, Kirby said, “I have to get used to the strike zone. College is more side to side, but in the pros it’s more up and down.”
Billy Cooke went 3-for-3 with a double and a home run to lead the Everett’s (15-14) offense. Austin Shenton also homered for the second straight game.
Deivy Florido went 5 1/3 inning and allowed two runs in relief of Kirby to get the win. Reid Morgan pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn his second save.