The Twins prospect allowed a single and struck out four over seven innings and two relievers finished off the one-hitter Friday as Class A Beloit blanked Cedar Rapids, 7-0.
Hurlbut gave up a one-out base hit to Eric Stamets in the first inning and nothing else. He walked three and faced three batters over the minimum in matching the longest start of his career.
"My pitching coach [Gary Lucas] pulled me aside before the start and told me we were going to go out there with the fastball," Hurlbut said. "A lot of it was fastballs away and fastballs in. I probably threw 70-75 percent fastballs."
Hurlbut (3-0) made his first start of the season on June 10 after coming out of the bullpen 10 times for the Snappers. In his last start a week ago, just before the Midwest League All-Star break, he allowed three runs on four hits over four innings against Burlington.
"It's just nice to do well, especially after the last start," Hurlbut said. "I had a lot of time to think about it. It was my fastball command; I was able to control the fastball a lot better today and I didn't have to go to my off-speed [stuff] early."
The 22-year-old left-hander, who also went seven innings on July 15, 2011 for short-season Elizabethton, started 12 Appalachian League games a year ago.
"It's different," the 2011 28th-round Draft pick said. "I prefer starting, it's what I've been accustomed to. It's just a different beast to tackle, but I've been able to do the relief thing well."
Overall, Hurlbut is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 36 innings for the Snappers. While he doesn't know what role he'll have the rest of the season, he knows what he needs to do.
"My fastball command is going to be the key," the Cal State-Fullerton product said. "It's mostly about keeping up with the things I've done."
Tim Atherton fanned one in a perfect eighth and Corey Williams worked around a walk in the ninth to wrap up Beloit's fifth shutout of the season.
Nate Roberts reached base three times and scored twice, while Tyler Grimes plated a pair of runs for the Snappers.