As near no-hitters go, Brady Feigl didn't come excruciatingly close to history, but it was close enough that his final line proved to be the best of his brief career.
Oakland's No. 28 prospect twirled 6 1/3 hitless innings and ended up allowing only a hit over seven frames to lead Class A Advanced Stockton past Lake Elsinore, 2-0, on Monday night at Banner Island Ballpark. It marked the first time in the right-hander's career he completed seven innings and the fifth time in eight starts he's gone at least six frames.
A handful of pitchers who come within nine outs of throwing a no-hitter might admit to being disappointed, but the 23-year-old knew he had a bigger obligation at that point of the game.
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"It was on to the next batter," Feigl said of losing the no-hit bid "[Ports pitching coach] Chris Smith works on scenarios with us and blocks out 100-pitch increments. You'll throw 66 [pitches] where you want, 17 that are so bad no hitter will swing and 17 where anything can happen. Giving up the hit stinks, but I needed to just pound the zone and get out of the mess I found myself in."
There wasn't much for Feigl (3-1) to clean up through much of his start. Despite issuing walks to 20th-ranked Padres prospect Jeisson Rosario in the second inning and Allen Cordoba in the sixth, the University of Mississippi product faced the minimum through six courtesy of a double play and a caught stealing. He retired San Diego's No. 24 prospect Gabriel Arias to begin the seventh, but a fielding error by second baseman Jeremy Eierman -- Oakland's No. 10 prospect -- brought the tying run to the plate. Feigl's shot at history ended four pitches later when San Diego's 15th-ranked prospect Luis Campusano singled to right field.
"[The no-hitter] is something that's in the back of your mind when you're out there," Feigl said. "But whatever happens, happens. I was having fun, attacking the hitters and seeing how far it would take me. It went pretty far tonight, and obviously I wish it went further, but you take what you get and go with it."
Focused on keeping his 2-0 lead intact, Feigl fanned Tirso Ornelas and retired Rosario on a flyout to complete his second scoreless outing of the year. The Chesterfield, Missouri, native struck out three, walked two and threw 60 of 95 pitches for strikes. He was quick to credit his teammates for his performance.
"The guys made some great plays behind me tonight. That's a huge help," Feigl said. "[Catcher] Jordan Devencenzi called a great game. We established the fastball early and tried to go off that. It makes things a lot easier when you've got defense and a good gameplan working together."
Feigl delivered a successful pro debut between Class A Short Season Vermont and Class A Beloit after the Oakland selected him in the fifth round of last year's Draft. Armed with a fastball that can touch the mid-90s and a solid slider and changeup, the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder posted a 1.73 ERA in 11 appearances -- eight starts -- in 2018. That success has carried over into this season; he sports a 3.13 ERA through his first eight appearances.
2019 MiLB include
"You have to keep attacking and trust your stuff," Feigl explained. "Everybody up here is good. It's not like in college where the bottom of the order can't hurt you. I've got to study the hitters' strengths and weaknesses and attack. But honestly, I'm just having fun. I'm playing a game for a living and getting paid for it. I might as well take advantage of that while I can."
Righty Nick Highberger closed out the Ports' third shutout of the year, allowing one hit over the final two innings.
A's No. 7 prospect Jameson Hannah equaled his career high by going 4-for-4 and Hunter Hargrove added a solo homer.
Lake Elsinore's Luis Patino (2-4) was charged with two runs on six hits and two walks over six innings. The No. 4 Padres prospect matched his season high with seven strikeouts.