"When I evaluated afterward, I realized I wasn't prepared mentally," Seaton said of his memorable June 9, 2011 start. "The experience that I had these last couple years -- having failure is a much better teaching tool than success. Let's put it that way."
Let's put it this way: Now that the Astros prospect is worrying less about the results in his second season for Houston's Double-A affiliate, the results are getting better. Seaton struck out eight over a season-high 8 1/3 innings Friday night as Corpus Christi blanked Northwest Arkansas, 3-0.
"The major thing is mental games. I have started putting a lot of emphasis on visualization," said Seaton, admittedly tired an hour after throwing 100 pitches in 96-degree heat. "That's the biggest difference. It's learning, visualizing, seeing yourself executing. Your mind doesn't know; you're tricking your mind. You put runners on second and third and see yourself get out of it."
That second-and-third situation never happened Friday -- Seaton (6-5) was too good. He walked two batters but was otherwise perfect through 5 1/3 innings when Naturals leadoff man Yem Prades singled on the first pitch.
"The no-hitter had already entered my mind," Seaton admitted. "I threw a fastball and he hit it up the middle. That's baseball.
"[My] pitching coach came out and he just wanted to make sure I was good to go, and I said yes. I had a situation like this before [in Midland] where I didn't [respond]. I knew going into this start that I was really focused."
And he was. Utilizing an unusually stealthy slider, the 22-year-old right-hander retired his next nine batters before Paulo Orlando and Brian Fletcher smacked consecutive singles.
"I wanted it," Seaton said of what would have been his second career complete game. "The two hits I gave up both were jam jobs -- one looped over the second baseman's head and the other crept into center field."
Closer Jason Stoffel spelled the starter and retired both batters he faced to record his 14th save.
"When he comes in," Seaton said of his teammate, "the game is over; it's lights-out."
A 2008 third-round Draft pick, the Sugar Land, Texas, native hurled a three-hit shutout on June 1, 2009 for Class A Lexington. Also, he recorded a career-high eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 frames two years ago to the day with Class A Advanced Lancaster.
This season represents Seaton's second try at the Texas League. He went 4-9 with a 5.23 ERA in 28 starts for the Hooks in 2011. So far in 2012, he's 6-5 with a 3.61 ERA in 17 outings.
Go one step deeper into the numbers and Seaton's thesis -- that his improvement derives from mental (not physical) adjustments -- is confirmed. Texas League foes are faring only slightly worse against him this time around (.264 average) than they did in 2011 (.279). What's changed is how he's lost to an adverse set of circumstances or unraveled. The Texas League isn't scoring nearly as often.
Naturals counterpart Sugar Ray Marimon (1-1) was knocked out in the fifth, having allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked three in his shortest Double-A start of the season.
Bryan Paukovits followed Marimon with 3 1/3 scoreless innings. His seven strikeouts matched Northwest Arkansas' franchise record for a reliever.
The Naturals have dropped five straight and have been shut out four times in the last 11 games.