Brandon Dickson's five hitless innings set the tone for Palm Beach and Daytona on Thursday. A tone devoid of hits, base-runners or offense in general.
Dickson hurled five no-hit frames for the Cardinals in an eventual 1-0 loss to the visiting Cubs in 10 innings. The game featured four combined hits.
The 23-year-old righty struck out two and walked one in the best performance of his young career. It was his most dominant outing since allowing six hits in five shutout frames against Class A Cedar Rapids last June 8. It also marked his first hitless appearance since a three-inning stint for Johnson City in 2006.
Dickson rolled through three innings before Jon Wyatt worked a leadoff walk in the fourth. Dickson induced a double-play grounder from Tony Thomas Jr. and retired James Adduci to end the frame. His night ended after a 1-2-3 fifth.
The Alabama native signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Cardinals out of Tusculum College in 2006 and earned Midwest League All-Star honors last season with Class A Quad Cities. He finished 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA in 144 innings.
Dickson went 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA in five consecutive outings from April 15-May 2 last year. The Alabama native has allowed seven earned runs in 14 1/3 innings this season.
Tyler Herron struck out two and allowed a pair of singles in relief of Dickson, but Kenneth Maiques (0-1) walked two batters, hit another and surrendered a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 10th to suffer the loss.
Across the diamond, the Cubs tossed up their own line of zeros. Daytona starter Alessandro Maestri nearly matched Dickson with two hits over six shutout frames. The 2007 Midwest League All-Star struck out four and walked one. Southpaw Jayson Ruhlman (2-2) got the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and Dumas Garcia wrapped up the 10th for his first save.