Earlier in the year, Tony Cingrani drew raves for his work in ending games. On Saturday, it was how he started one that garnered praise.
Cingrani fanned a career-high 13 batters over six no-hit innings to earn his first pro win as short-season Billings defeated Casper, 3-1.
Selected in the third round by the Reds in June, Cingrani faced one over the minimum in the longest start of his career. A fielding error by third baseman Junior Arias in the second inning gave the Ghosts their only baserunner against the 22-year-old left-hander. He retired 14 in a row following the misplay.
"My fastball felt good, my change-up felt good and I threw the slider down so I didn't get hurt with that," Cingrani said. "Pretty much everything as working tonight."
Cingrani (1-2) began the year closing out games for Rice. He ended the season with 12 saves and a 1.74 ERA in 32 games for the Owls. Since being drafted however, the Illinois native has pitched exclusively in the Mustangs' starting rotation. His 1.56 ERA would be good enough to lead the Pioneer League if he had enough innings to qualify.
"It changed my mind-set on how to attack hitters," Cingrani said of his bullpen experience. "Today I like starting, I like starting usually."
Cingrani, who has struck out 66 batters in 40 1/3 innings, said he was aware of the fact that he had not allowed a hit, but didn't let it sway him on the mound.
"I just kept doing the same thing that was working, I didn't feel anything," he said.
Carlos Contreras took over for Cingrani to start the seventh and allowed a one-out single to Harold Riggins to end the no-hit bid.
"I did my job, he only gave up one so it wasn't a big deal," he said.
Contreras hit a batter and surrendered a sacrifice fly in his inning of relief. Erik Miller followed with a perfect eighth, and Brooks Pinckard tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save to wrap up the one-hitter.
Juan Perez, selected in the 26th round this year, slugged a two-run homer for the Mustangs and Ryan White was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.