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Antonini unhittable in full-season debut04/03/2008 11:55 PM ET
By Danny Wild
Michael Antonini wasted little time in making an impression in his full-season debut on Opening Day.
Antonini (1-0) and three relievers combined on a one-hitter as Savannah shut out Columbus, 2-0, on Thursday.
Promoted to the South Atlantic League this season, Antonini struck out four and walked one over six hitless innings to pick up his first win in the longest outing of his career. Prior to today, the left-hander's longest start had been 4 1/3 frames for Class A Short-Season Brooklyn on Sept. 2, 2007.
Antonini, an 18th-round Draft pick by the Mets last June, induced eight grounders and six flyouts in his most dominating performance since his professional debut. He struck out five and allowed one hit over three scoreless frames against Burlington on June 23.
The Drexel Hill, PA native has made a few stops in the Mets farm system since joining the organization mid-summer last season. The 22-year-old went 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA in five appearances for Kingsport of the Appalachian League before making five relief appearances and two starts for the Cyclones in Coney Island.
Jacobo Neguilis, a 23-year-old right-hander, allowed the game's lone hit to Greg Sexton in the seventh but kept the shutout intact. Nick Waechter struck out a pair over two perfect innings for his first save of the spring.
Catfish starter Alex Cobb (0-1) didn't have much offensive support to work with. The right-hander struck out five and allowed two runs -- one earned -- on four hits in 5 2/3 innings for the loss.
The Sand Gnats gave Antonini the only run he'd need in the fourth inning when Francisco Pena doubled home Jose Jimenez with one out. Jimenez tacked on a second run in the sixth when he laced a two-out double to center, plating Matt Bouchard.
Sexton broke up the no-hitter in the seventh when he led off and grounded a single up the middle off Neguilis. Sexton took second on a balk and advanced to third on a grounder but was stranded when Cody Cipriano grounded out to end the threat.
Pena had the only multi-hit performance of the night, while Greg Veloz singled and stole two bases.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.