What happens when you give up two runs in seven innings and lose, and then throw seven-shutout and get a no-decision? You could throw a no-hitter, after all.
Nick Hernandez, BlueClaws lefty, almost did just that on Sunday, in a 9-1 win over Greensboro.
Hernandez was four outs away from the fourth no-hitter in BlueClaws history on Sunday when a familiar face stepped into the box.
Hernandez, a University of Tennessee product, was facing Chris Wade, a Greensboro infielder who played at SEC-rival Kentucky.
“At 2-0, the last thing you want to do is walk him,” said Hernandez, about 45 minutes after Wade hit a home run to break up the no-hitter. “He’s a real good pesky hitter,” he added.
Hernandez has now allowed just two earned runs in his last 28 innings, and even though he didn’t allow a hit until the 27th batter he faced, felt it took awhile to get going today.
“The first three innings a lot of pitches were up and a lot of outs were fly outs,” he said. “Valle came in, when we were batting in the fourth, and said to get the ball down in the zone. It started to click in during the bottom of the 4th.
“The no-hitter possibility hit me around the 5th, when the other guys started backing away, not talking to me between innings,” he said.
Hernandez made sure to thank Jiwan James, who made two “Willie Mays type catches,” according to manager Mark Parent. One was a 40-yard sprint to catch a line drive up against the wall in the 3rd. Another was in the 7th, when he mimicked the Willie Mays over-the-shoulder catch from Game One of the 1954 World Series on the Vic Wertz liner.
When asked which one he thought James could catch, Hernandez was quick to say “Neither. But those are the types of plays you usually see in no-hitters. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
Nick’s father, also Nick, was drafted in the first round by the Brewers in 1978, was in the park today.
It would have been Lakewood’s fourth no-hitter.
- 2001: Keith Bucktrot (seven innings)
- 2002: Gavin Floyd (nine innings, loss)
- 2006: Carlos Carrasco and Andy Barb (nine innings combined)