It's been an exciting month for Jordan Mills, who went from Saint Mary's College to pitching part of a no-hit bid for Rookie-level Greeneville on Thursday.
Mills was on the road with the Madison Mallards, a collegiate summer league team in Wisconsin, when he heard his name popped up on MLB.com as the Astros' 28th-round Draft pick.
"It was pretty surreal when I got to hear my name," the left-hander said.
That was way back in June, now Mills is entrenched in his first season in the Minors. A veteran of seven professional games, Mills made his third start Thursday and wasn't even aware of his pitch count. He exited after throwing four hitless frames and Greeneville went on to two-hit Princeton, 4-0, to sweep a doubleheader.
"I think, first of all, [catcher] Alfredo Gonzalez called a good game. He worked both sides of the plate, called off-speed pitches when we needed to," he said. "We worked on getting ahead and throwing first-pitch strikes, that was the main goal."
Mills, 21, struck out five and did not walk a batter while lowering his ERA to 0.90. The southpaw has not allowed a run in his last four appearances.
"It was pretty fun. We treat it as a regular game, just go out and do our best and hope for the no-hitter," he said.
Greeneville manager Josh Bonifay took the ball from Mills and handed the game over to Krishawn Holley, who pitched a scoreless fifth but allowed two hits in the sixth. Raul Rivera struck out one in the seventh to close out the victory.
"Coach Bonifay is the smartest coach I've ever played for. It was his decision and he made the right one, we won," Mills said.
A business major who just completed his junior year at the college in Moraga, Calif., Mills plans to return to school this fall to finish up his degree after the Minor League season.
Before that, he's intent on adjusting to pro ball with Greeneville.
"It's been awesome. All the guys, we gelled really well, this whole organization," he said. "It's really great and it's been a lot of fun."
Mills is 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 20 innings this season. He pitched a hitless inning in his Minor League debut June 20, earned his first career win July 6 in relief against Bristol and is holding batters to a .194 average. A reliever early on in his college career, Mills said he doesn't care where the Astros want to use him.
"I want to do whatever is best for the team, I don't prefer either one," he said. "They tell me to start, I'll start, I'll do either one. I think it's more learning the game, how to pitch to hitters. It's more about attacking guys, letting your best stuff do the work for you."
Greeneville picked up two runs in the first when Edwin Gomez singled home Tanner Mathis and then scored on Angel Ibanez's single to center. Brett Phillips added a two-RBI single in the fifth to give the Astros a four-run lead after Greeneville pounded Princeton, 10-0, in the opener.