M-Braves' Allard matches career-high with 11 K's

M-Braves' Allard matches career-high with 11 K's

Thursday's slate of games featured arguably the best pitching matchup of the 2017 season, with Top 100 prospects Michael Kopech and Kolby Allard on the mound for Double-A Birmingham and Mississippi, respectively.

Though both hurlers were plenty impressive, it was Allard, the Braves' No. 3 prospect, who stole the show as he paced Mississippi to a 3-0 win with a career-best performance.

Making his sixth start for M-Braves, Allard, MLBPipeline No. 47 overall prospect, matched his career-high as he struck out 11 of the 21 batters he faced in six scoreless innings. The 19-year-old lefty threw a season-high 95 pitches (63 strikes), allowing just three hits -- all Eddy Alvarez singles -- and zero walks, his first walk-less outing of the season.

Allard, despite having made the jump directly to Mississippi from the Class A level, has been anything but overmatched in the Southern League. He owns a 1.36 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP after Thursday's performance, with 28 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 innings.

Kopech, meanwhile, was cruising for the Barons until he lost feel for the strike zone in the fifth inning. The No. 14 overall prospect (White Sox No. 3) hit Mississippi's eight- and nine-hole hitters with one out before yielding a run on a fielder's choice. The next batter for the M-Braves, Luis Valenzuela, capitalized on the scoring opportunity with a two-run homer to right field.

Though he was done in by the one bad inning, Kopech, 20, fared well overall, as he used his upper-90s heater to rack up eight strikeouts and six ground-ball outs in six innings. He threw 64 of his 99 pitches for strikes, allowing four hits and two walks along with the pair of hit batsmen.

For the season, Kopech has pitched to a 3.00 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 24 innings (five starts) for the Barons. He's allowed just 13 hits while limiting opposing hitters to a .155 clip in that span.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday

• No. 35 overall prospect Carson Kelly (Cardinals' No. 2) collected three extra-base hits and three RBIs to help power Triple-A Memphis past Omaha in 10 innings, 12-8. The 22-year-old backstop hit a two-run homer, his fifth of the season, in his first at-bat and later added two doubles before finishing 3-for-5.

• Braves' No. 25 prospect Drew Harrington tossed five scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out four, to pace Class A Advanced Florida in a 3-0 win over Palm Beach. The 22-year-old lefty threw 43 of his 63 pitches for strikes en route to facing one over the minimum. Third baseman Austin Riley (No. 12) drove in all three runs for the Fire Frogs, going 2-for-4 with a double and his fifth home run.

Brewers' No. 20 prospect Corbin Burnes ranks second among Carolina League hurlers with a 1.32 ERA after dominating over a career-high 6 2/3 frames for Class A Advanced Carolina. The 2016 fourth-rounder permitted just one hit in the scoreless performance while walking three and striking out five. He's now allowed one earned run or fewer in five of his six starts.

• Brewers' No. 29 prospect Trey Supak set a career high with nine strikeouts in a no-decision for Class A Wisconsin. He allowed one run on two hits and two walks in five innings to lower his ERA to 2.59 through five outings (four starts). The 20-year-old righty has yielded just 13 hits in 24 1/3 innings (.160 BAA), with 31 strikeouts and six walks.

D-backs' top prospect Anthony Banda turned in his best start of the season and received plenty of offensive support as Triple-A Reno pummeled Salt Lake, 22-3. The 23-year-old lefty threw 103 pitches (73 strikes) in seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out nine. At the plate, Christian Walker (No. 29) belted his eighth home run and scored four runs in a 2-for-5 effort. He also collected an RBI to grab a share of the International League lead with 29.

Dodgers' No. 22 prospect Edwin Rios was the difference in Double-A Tulsa's 3-1 win in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Arkansas, as he went 2-for-2 with two home runs and three RBIs out of the cleanup spot. It was the fifth career multi-homer game and first of the season for Rios, who's hitting .380 with six home runs and 24 RBIs through 24 games.

Padres' No. 24 prospect Franchy Cordero filled out the box score in a perfect night at the plate for Triple-A El Paso. The 22-year-old outfielder went 5-for-5 out of the leadoff spot, tallying four singles and one double to go with four RBIs. He also stole two bases in the contest, the second of which enabled him to score what proved to be the game-winning run in a 9-8 victory over Albuquerque.

Reds' No. 8 prospect Tyler Stephenson's ninth-inning grand slam provided Class A Dayton with key insurance runs in a 7-2 victory over Beloit. The home run was the third of the season for the 2015 first-rounder, who's now hitting .302/.394/.477 and tied for the Midwest League lead with 23 RBIs.

Royals' No. 4 prospect Scott Blewett notched his first win with a scoreless performance for Class A Advanced Wilmington. The 21-year-old righty completed a season-high seven innings, allowing four hits and one walk with three strikeouts. He's given up just one earned run in his past 19 innings (three starts).

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.