Thursday's South Atlantic League game between Class A West Virginia and Augusta did not feature a hit until the fifth inning, when the Power's Wyatt Mathisen singled to left field off GreenJackets starter Carlos Diaz.
But West Virginia starter Buddy Borden didn't surrender a hit or a run over six frames. The right-handed Pirates prospect finished one of the finest outings of his career with seven strikeouts and four walks. Ultimately Augusta rallied to a 2-1 victory, though.
"Unfortunately, we couldn't pull out the win," Borden said. "But it was good to kind of get out there and compete a little bit. It just so happens they didn't get a hit. It's definitely one of those things that you strive for every time out. It was a real fun night. "
The GreenJackets plated two runs in the eighth against reliever Will Kendall to deny Borden his first win of the season and his career. But the 22-year-old's 2.23 ERA is the lowest among South Atlantic League hurlers without a victory yet this year.
"I wouldn't say [it was] disappointing," Borden said. "The wins and losses, that's one of the things that's out of your control. You've just got to go out there and compete, and I felt like I did that tonight."
Borden retired Augusta's first 11 hitters before issuing a walk to Jeremy Sy in the fourth inning. He had another 1-2-3 frame in the fifth, but things got dicey in the sixth. The Pirates' 2013 seventh-round pick walked Ryan Tuntland and struck out Will Calloway. He walked Chris Lofton and induced a flyout by Ryder Jones. Then he walked Sy again.
With two outs and the bases loaded, the Las Vegas native struck out Tyler Horan to avoid any harm.
"I was real good tonight with getting ahead with the fastball and kind of letting my other stuff play off of it," Borden said. "I got them in swing mode and we kind of made adjustments from there. But I would say I had confidence in all my pitches. It just so happened that they were falling in the zone for the most part. It was a good night."
Borden tied a career high in strikeouts that he set last Aug. 27 while pitching for the short-season Jamestown Jammers in his first professional season. In six appearances (three starts) last year, he went 0-0 with a 1.08 ERA.
The UNLV product has thrown 36 1/3 innings spanning eight starts this season. He has struck out 34 while walking 16.
"Obviously, the end result is always going to be to play in the big leagues," he said. "I mean, that's my goal. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't.
"But as of right now, I'm just kind of trusting the process. I feel like the people in the organization, obviously they've got a pretty good idea what they're doing. So I'm just taking it all in and learning from what they give me and trying to execute what they give me."
Borden's batterymate was Reese McGuire, the Pirates' No. 7 prospect and the overall No. 90 prospect. Pittsburgh's first-round pick last year (No. 14 overall) put the Power on the board in the sixth with an RBI single.
"You watch him play and sometimes it's hard to remember that this is his first year of pro ball and he should be a freshman in college," Borden said. "His baseball IQ is off the charts. He does a really great job of controlling the running game. I feel really confident with him back there as a backstop.
"He's just one of those guys that you like throwing to because you know that you're always going to be on the same page."
Kendall relieved Borden in the seventh and retired the side in order. He got into trouble in the eighth, though, ultimately yielding Jones' RBI single and Sy's sacrifice fly.