Scott Copeland made the most of his 85-pitch count Thursday, turning in a memorable start that featured an equally memorable ending.
Copeland authored the best outing of his young professional career, throwing six hitless innings in Class A Short-Season Aberdeen's 3-2 walk-off win in 10 innings over Hudson Valley on Thursday.
"I'm very pleased with it, but I've still got a lot of stuff to work on," Copeland said. "My defense played outstanding tonight and I just threw strikes."
The right-hander, who was chosen by Baltimore in the 21st round this year, struck out six and walked one. He threw 83 pitches before being replaced to start the seventh.
Ashur Tolliver, the Orioles' fifth-round pick in 2009, allowed two runs on two hits over the next 1 2/3 innings to lose the no-hit bid, but Aberdeen rallied to tie the game in the ninth before Austin Rauch led off the 10th with the game-winning homer, his first longball of the year.
Copeland's performance came a little over two weeks since Tim Adleman -- Baltimore's 24th-round pick this year -- threw seven hitless frames in a 6-0 win over Staten Island.
Copeland cruised through the first two innings before working around a leadoff walk in the third to Mayobanex Acosta. Acosta was thrown out stealing and Copeland never looked back, retiring the final 11 batters he faced.
"I mixed it up pretty good," he said. "My sinker was my best pitch. I kept them off-balance and kept pounding the zone."
The 22-year-old said he noticed he had a no-hitter after getting through four innings. His teammates didn't avoid him in the dugout, though, and he said he never felt nervous.
"I kept feeling it. I was having fun in the dugout and I was relaxed. I definitely wanted to give it a shot [and finish it]," Copeland said. "I've never done it before, but I understand why I was pulled out."
Copeland has been solid for the IronBirds, despite a 2-5 record. He's allowed three earned runs or fewer in all of his 10 starts, lasting about six innings in each. He beat Batavia on Aug. 12 in his last outing, going seven frames, but struggled to earn a win in his previous seven appearances.
He said it was a dream come true when the Orioles drafted him two months ago and he's enjoyed with how his first season has played out to date.
"It's been pretty good," Copeland said. "I'm feeling pretty good, we're .500 now and hopefully we'll make a run for it ... make the playoffs."
Thursday's start helped lower his ERA to 3.05 on the season. He's struck out 40 batters in 57 innings and has held opponents to a .202 average.
The White Oak, Texas native was selected out of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he went 11-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 15 outings earlier this year.
"It's definitely a better skill level here than college, but they had metal bats," Copeland said. "It kind of evens out now with wooden bats, that's the main thing. But you just have to pound the zone, pitch inside and keep them off balance."
Copeland struggled early on with his command -- he walked just 25 in 96 innings in his final college campaign, but has already issued 18 free passes in 10 starts this year with Aberdeen. He's not concerned, though.
"I struggled in the first couple starts, but I settled down," he said. "I've definitely got high hopes."