Trey Supak's shot at history came one out and two feet short of becoming a reality for Double-A Biloxi. Milwaukee's 11th-ranked prospect pitched 8 2/3 hitless innings before Tennessee's Clayton Daniel dropped a sinking liner into center field in the Shuckers' 3-0 win over the Smokies on Thursday at MGM Park.
Trey Supak's shot at history came one out and two feet short of becoming a reality for Double-A Biloxi.
Milwaukee's 11th-ranked prospect pitched 8 2/3 hitless innings before Tennessee's Clayton Daniel dropped a sinking liner into center field in the Shuckers' 3-0 win over the Smokies on Thursday at MGM Park. Supak struck out four and did not walk a batter during his second straight scoreless outing.
There was disappointment for the right-hander, but that was tempered by what he called the best start of his career.
"I felt in control the whole game. I was in control of my delivery and my off-speed stuff was working great," Supak said. "Every no-hitter has a few good plays sprinkled in and the guys had my back tonight for sure. Before I knew it, we were in the late innings and it was real. I could hear the fans talking about it, so you start thinking about it. It would have been a great feat to accomplish, but [Daniel] put a good swing on a solid pitch."
Supak (6-2) retired nine straight to begin the game and faced one over the minimum heading into the ninth inning. Biloxi third baseman Jake Gatewood -- the No. 28 Brewers prospect -- committed a fielding error in the fourth inning that accounted for the Smokies' only baserunner. Supak retired the first two batters in the ninth before Daniel lofted Tennessee's first hit -- a double -- several feet in front of diving center fielder Trent Grisham, Milwaukee's 30th-ranked prospect.
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"There was a little extra adrenaline going there in the ninth," Supak admitted. "I was getting a little tired too. It was a pretty hot night down here in Biloxi. But I knew what was on the line and I was just trying to make my pitches."
Although Daniel's knock wouldn't be considered a blooper, it wasn't hit particularly hard. Supak sensed as much as soon as the bat struck the ball.
"I had a bad feeling when he hit it," the Texas native said. "The pitch got in on him a bit, so I know he didn't square it up very well. I was hoping [shortstop Luis Aviles Jr.] might have a play, but I sort of lost hope. I was happy that [Grisham] gave me a courtesy dive, just in case."
Having thrown a career-high 115 pitches, Supak exited to a standing ovation from the 2,975 fans in attendance. Luke Barker recorded his fifth save by retiring Vimael Machin on a groundout to second to complete Biloxi's eighth shutout of the season.
"That's the best start of my career, so I look at it as a positive," Supak said. "There's definitely no regrets, more of a 'What if?' You second-guess yourself a little, but at the end of the day, it's Minor League baseball. That isn't my ultimate goal. I want to do this in the bigs. For me, it was a big step forward and another sign that I can compete at a high level with these guys."
The game was reminiscent of another Shuckers' near no-no involving Brewers No. 6 prospect Zack Brown last June 15. The right-hander was one strike away from the feat when Mississippi's Daniel Lockhart singled off the glove of another diving Biloxi center fielder -- Milwaukee's second-ranked prospect Corey Ray.
The 8 2/3 innings represented a career high for Supak, who had never pitched into the ninth in 75 previous starts as a professional. The 23-year-old has not allowed an earned run in three consecutive starts, lowering his ERA from 2.76 to 1.85. The Southern League's active leader in WHIP (0.85) will carry a streak of 22 1/3 consecutive innings without an earned run into his next outing.
With six wins, Supak stands in a four-way tie for the circuit lead with teammate Devin Williams, Chattanooga's Tejay Antone and Jacksonville's Robert Dugger, Miami's No. 22 prospect. Supak has held opponents to a .190 average despite averaging less than six strikeouts per nine innings.
Patrick Leonard went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Aviles and Weston Wilson drove in a run apiece for the Shuckers.
Smokies starter Justin Steele (0-5) surrendered three runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts in four innings. The No. 8 Cubs prospect is winless in his last nine appearances dating back to last Aug. 19.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.