Austin Voth fell short in his bid for history. He'll have to settle for being one of the best pitchers in the South Atlantic League.
The Nationals' No. 16 prospect retired the first 18 batters and tossed seven one-hit innings Tuesday night as Class A Hagerstown blanked Lakewood, 2-0.
Voth was perfect until issued a leadoff walk in the seventh to Phillies No. 3 prospect J.P. Crawford. Carlos Tocci followed with an infield single on a ball that Voth said he was "so close from making a play on."
With the Suns protecting a 2-0 lead, the 21-year-old right-hander got Phillies No. 9 prospect Dylan Cozens to fly out to center field, retired William Astudillo on an infield popup and Andrew Pullin on a grounder to short.
"It was a close game and this game meant a lot to us," Voth said. "Even though my no-hitter and perfect game was over, I knew I had to bear down and get through the inning. I did what I could to get through the inning."
Voth (4-3) finished with six strikeouts and faced two batters over the minimum in his 12th South Atlantic League start.
"I was just keeping it simple and attacking the big part of the zone today," the 2013 fifth-round Draft pick said. "I got big help from my defense, they made a lot of great plays in the outfield and the infield. I was able to command my fastball to both sides of the plate. That's probably what helped me a lot today."
Voth, who said he'd never taken a perfect game that deep before, has worked seven innings in back-to-back outings.
"It's crucial," the University of Washington product said. "Now being able to go seven innings and have the opportunity to have back-to-back solid outings, I just want to keep my momentum going into the next start and the start after that."
In his first full season, Voth leads the league with a 1.02 WHIP, ranks second with a 2.23 ERA and is tied for second with 69 strikeouts. He's yet to allow a home run over 64 2/3 innings and will appear in the SAL All-Star Game next week in Hickory N.C..
"It's going pretty well," Voth said. "My arm is feeling great, I'm feeling strong going into the later half of the game. I feel confidence with what my catcher puts down. I feel pretty good for the future."
David Ramos fanned two over two perfect innings to earn his first save and finish off the Suns' fourth shutout of the season.
Wilmer Difo slugged a solo homer and Drew Ward singled home Isaac Ballou to account for Hagerstown's offense.
BlueClaws starter Tyler Viza (2-8) took the loss after allowing two runs on eight hits over seven innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.