The converted reliever turned in another impressive start on Wednesday night, allowing one hit over eight shutout innings before the Rawhide dropped a 2-1, 10-inning decision at San Jose.
"It felt good," said Hagens, who lowered his ERA to 3.88 in the hitter-friendly California League. "I felt like I had a good command of things and me and Tyson [Van Winkle], the catcher, were pretty in sync. In the first inning, there were a few shakes, but after that I don't think I shook him off more than once or twice the rest of the game.
"We were really on the same page as far as what [pitches] we wanted to call, [what part of the plate] we wanted to work and all that."
Hagens began the season in the Rawhide bullpen, making 23 relief appearances before making his first start on June 25. The D-backs prospect is no stranger to the rotation, however, going 8-7 with a 4.11 ERA in 24 starts last season for Class A South Bend.
That experience has been evident over the last two months. Hagens, a sixth-round pick in the 2009 Draft, is unscored upon in five of his 11 starts. He has a 2.48 ERA as a starter, a far cry from the 6.48 ERA he posted as a reliever.
One aspect of his game on which Hagens has continually improved is his ability to pitch deeper into games, something the 23-year-old right-hander attributes to an increased emphasis on avoiding hitters' counts.
"I'd say [Wednesday] was probably my best start all year in terms of being able to go deep in the game and work ahead in counts," he said. "I've had other games where I've pitched pretty much the same, but I got behind in counts so my pitch count caught up to me and I couldn't go deeper into the game."
Hagens has gone at least seven innings in each of his last three outings, with Wednesday's performance the longest of his four-year career. He struck out six and walked three, yielding only Ricky Oropesa's two-out double in the fourth.
The California native exited a scoreless game but was in line for his fourth win after Jonathan Griffin homered in the top of the ninth.
But Blake Cooper walked in the tying run in the bottom of the inning and Seth Simmons gave up a sacrifice fly to Bobby Haney in the 10th.
Giants starter Kelvin Marte pitched well, holding the Rawhide to four hits over six scoreless innings. Jose Valdez (6-4) allowed Griffin's home run in the ninth but pitched a scoreless 10th to earn the win.