Daniel Tillo had been here before, entering the seventh inning with a no-hitter on the line.The Royals' No. 25 prospect had to settle for a two-hitter on Saturday night as Class A Advanced Wilmington blanked Carolina, 6-0, to complete a doubleheader sweep at Five County Stadium.
Daniel Tillo had been here before, entering the seventh inning with a no-hitter on the line.
The Royals' No. 25 prospect had to settle for a two-hitter on Saturday night as Class A Advanced Wilmington blanked Carolina, 6-0, to complete a doubleheader sweep at Five County Stadium.
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"I was kind of wild in the bullpen," said Tillo, a former Mr. Basketball in Iowa who spurned the hardwood for the diamond at Iowa Western Community College. "I felt good, fresh, but I was wild. It was different with hitters in the [batter's] box. I got locked in and started hitting my spots."
Last May 3 with Class A Lexington, Tillo held Columbia hitless for 6 1/3 innings before yielding a three-run homer. On Saturday, he kept the Mudcats out of the hit column until Brewers No. 10 prospect Payton Henry led off the seventh and final frame with a single off the glove of third baseman Angelo Castellano. Two outs later, Zach Clark singled for Carolina's only other hit.
Tillo (2-0) threw 59 of 94 pitches for strikes en route to his first Minor League complete game. He fanned six and issued a pair of walks in matching the longest outing of his career.
"Really, it doesn't mean as much; I want a nine-inning complete game," the 6-foot-5 southpaw said. "But you know that going in, with a doubleheader, that it's seven innings. I just wanted to give the team a chance to win."
Wilmington staked Tillo to an early lead as Royals No. 27 prospect Seuly Matias led off the second with a triple and scored on a groundout by 27th-ranked Sebastian Rivero.
"The early lead was big," said Tillo, a 2017 third-round Draft pick. "I got locked in and pounded the strike zone. Sebastian called a great game, I don't think I shook him off once. My mind-set was I'm going to give it my best -- mine vs. yours."
All six of Tillo's strikeouts were swinging.
"We've got a great team, a great staff," he added. "This is only the beginning, I'm excited."
While it's early, the Blue Rocks improved to 7-3 and are tied with Lynchburg atop the Carolina League North Division standings.
After again coming close to a no-hitter, Tillo said it will be forgotten tomorrow -- just like his basketball career.
"I won't think about the game. It's over and I'll focus on my next start. With basketball, I made the right decision. It's baseball season and it always will be for me."
Wilmington tacked on two in the fourth. Royals No. 23 prospect Blake Perkins worked a one-out walk before 17th-ranked Brewer Hicklen doubled and Castellano singled them both home. In the sixth, Castellano doubled home Rivero, who singled to lead off the inning. Matias capped the scoring in the seventh with a two-run homer, his first in the Carolina League after smacking 31 in the South Atlantic League last season.
Carolina starter Dylan File (0-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits and a walk while striking out seven in five innings.
Duane Cross is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB.