Conley anchors Ports' no-hitter

A's right-hander, Marinez, Bray combine on club's 15th feat

Bryce Conley congratulates Jake Bray after the Ports' no-hitter, the 20th in the Minor Leagues this season. (Peter Fiorentino/Stockton Ports)

By Duane Cross / | July 23, 2019 2:11 AM

Bryce Conley, Eric Marinez and Jake Bray combined on the 15th no-hitter in Class A Advanced Stockton's history and the first one since 1990 on Monday night. They got a big assist from rehabbing Oakland catcher Nick Hundley.

The right-handed starter went six innings, allowing four walks and striking out six, en route to the Ports' 11-0 win over Rancho Cucamonga at Banner Island Ballpark. Conley threw 55 of his 93 pitches for strikes in the first no-hitter in the California League this season.

Gameday box score

It was the second straight outing with Hundley as Conley's batterymate, so the 24-year-old was comfortable from the outset.

"I enjoyed that," he said. "We were on the same page, and obviously, he's very good back there. I had all the confidence in the world with him behind the dish."

Making his fourth start for Stockton after being promoted from Class A Beloit on July 7, Conley (3-0) retired five straight to begin the game before 27th-ranked Dodgers prospect Miguel Vargas worked a walk. He answered by whiffing Starling Heredia to end the second inning.

Leading off the third, the 24-year-old issued a base on balls to Hunter Feduccia, who was cut down trying to steal by Hundley. Conley sat down the next six before Vargas walked on four pitches with one out in the fifth.

The only other Quakes batter to reach against the 6-foot-3, 200-pound hurler was Dodgers No. 7 prospect Jeter Downs, who walked with two outs in the sixth.

Conley followed up each base on balls with a punchout, something he did not realize in the moment.

"Walks have always been a part of my game, kind of a lingering thing," the Georgia State product admitted. "I have pretty good stuff, but it's not always in the [strike] zone. My whole college career, I didn't have the best command."

Through 19 innings with Stockton, he has allowed four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and 10 walks while punching out 19. His ERA is 1.42 with a 0.95 WHIP.

Anchoring a no-hitter seems to have become an annual event for Conley, who also set the table when Beloit made history against Burlington on April 12, 2018.

Marinez, the A's No. 30 prospect, struck out five in two innings of perfect relief. Right-hander Bray finished the gem. sandwiching strikeouts of Deacon Liput and Marcus Chiu around a one-out walk to Downs in the ninth before coaxing Donovan Casey to pop out to first baseman Alfonso Rivas for the final out.

"Nerves set in with one out in the ninth," Conley said. "When I came out of the game, there wasn't a lot I could do. There were nine outs left and a lot can happen. It was out of my hands.

"Then we had a long bottom of the eighth, about 35 minutes. So in the back of my mind, I was thinking, 'This is a long time. We still have three outs to get.' ... When Jake got the first out, I thought, 'Oh my gosh, we're gonna do this!' It was a team effort, a lot of help behind me and the two other pitchers."

Trace Loehr reached base in all five plate appearances, going 4-for-4 with a walk. He hit a three-run homer, his third, in the fifth and finished with four RBIs.

2019 Minor League milestones

Fourth-ranked A's prospect Lazaro Armenteros had two hits and scored once. No. 10 Jeremy Eierman chipped in two hits, crossed the plate twice and drove in a run. Hundley added two hits, punctuated by an RBI double that got the Ports on the board in the third, and scored two runs. Jonah Bride also had two base knocks, including an RBI single in the eighth, and two runs.

Dodgers No. 18 prospect Gerardo Carrillo (2-6) went just 2 1/3 innings, yielding one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out three.

It was the team's first no-hitter since April 15, 1990, when Michael Ignasiak and Doug Henry combined on a seven-inning feat against San Jose.

Duane Cross is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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