Colten Schmidt had already experienced plenty of success in his first full Minor League season, but on Wednesday, he reached a level he'd never attained before -- even as an amateur.
The Rockies prospect tossed a 98-pitch nine-inning shutout in Class A Advanced Asheville's 4-0 win over Greenville at Fluor Field at the West End, striking out three while allowing two hits and no walks. It was his first complete game of any kind dating all the way back through college and high school.
Gameday box score
Any pitcher would be ecstatic to turn in a performance like this, but for Schmidt, the emotion was amplified by how long he'd waited to experience it.
"It's a hard feeling to explain," he said. "Something you've never done before, [you] want to achieve a goal like this ever since growing up. It's an unreal feeling."
The 23-year-old was stellar out of the gate, not allowing a Drive batter to reach base until Red Sox No. 14 prospect Brandon Howlett doubled to left to open the fourth inning. The only other blemish on his outing came in the seventh, when he let Devlin Granberg single to center after a seven-pitch battle. Overall, he faced just three over the minimum -- Everlouis Lozada reached on a fielding error in the third.
It was Schmidt's sixth career scoreless start, and the two hits were the fewest he's ever allowed out of the rotation. His ERA now sits at 1.95 on the year, best in the South Atlantic League.
Video: Asheville's Schmidt completes shutout
Possibly the most impressive part of Schmidt's outing was his efficiency. While he was consistently recording outs, he didn't waste many pitches doing so, hurling just 98 all game. He fanned only three Greenville batters, tying the lowest mark of his career as a starter.
"They were really aggressive, really aggressive today," he said. "I think I had one four-pitch inning, so that can tell you how they were swinging the bats early in the counts."
As the game went on and the possibility of a complete game drew closer, Schmidt said he wasn't sure if he'd be given the chance to make it through the ninth. But around the eighth inning, Asheville manager Robinson Cancel approached him and asked how he was feeling and if he could go all the way, to which Schmidt naturally confirmed.
When he trotted out there in the final frame, he tried to keep things as simple as possible to keep his nervousness at bay.
"Just act like it's nothing different," he said. "Just act like it's the first inning and you're just on cruise control."
His teammates acted the same. Once everyone realized the kind of groove he was in, he got the traditional ice-out in the dugout, as nobody wanted to mess up his mindset.
"They tried to stay normal too," Schmdit said. "They [held] their excitement in. Everyone knew it, you could see on their faces. Just acted normal, tried not to do anything different, keep going."
Once he got the final out, however, that all went away.
"That's when everyone blew up," he said. "That's when everyone blew up and was like, 'Alright, we can go crazy now.'"
2019 MiLB include
And while he was thrilled to celebrate the game with his Asheville teammates, there were a couple other Tourists in the house that he was even more excited to experience it with.
"My family was actually in town, my mom and dad, so they got to watch that whole game right behind the plate," he said. "Pretty cool feeling ... it was a good day."