Pitching six no-hit innings is nothing new for Brandon Erbe. Ryan Ouellette and Fredy Deza made sure his latest hitless effort entered the Carolina League history books.
Erbe combined with Ouellette and Deza on the league's first no-hitter in more than two years Tuesday as the Frederick Keys blanked the Salem Avalanche, 5-0.
The former third-round Draft pick struck out seven over six innings for the win. Ouellette retired one batter while allowing two walks and hitting a batter. Deza finished up with 2 2/3 perfect frames to notch his third save.
"This doesn't happen too many times in baseball, Major League or Minor League," Erbe said, "so it's neat to be a part of something that happens only once in a blue moon.
"Getting the win for the team is always the most important thing. Doing something like this is icing on the cake."
The 20-year-old right-hander said it was the first time he's been involved in a no-hitter since his high school days in Baltimore.
It also was the first Carolina League no-hitter since April 12, 2006, when four Keys -- Radhames Liz, Russ Petrick, Jeff Montani and Casey Cahill -- combined to beat the Avalanche.
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|No-hitters in 2008
Erbe (9-10) tossed seven no-hit innings on June 11 in a no-decision against Wilmington and held the Blue Rocks hitless for six innings on May 1, 2007. He said he relied primarily on his hard stuff to cruise through six vs. Salem.
"My fastball was the best it's been all year," he added. "I was able to challenge the hitters with it and mix it up inside and outside.
"I've been working in between starts on keeping the ball down in the zone and I was able to do that well tonight."
The three walks he issued were the result of trying to be too precise with some of his pitches, he explained.
After Erbe exited, the Avalanche (15-28) loaded the bases against Ouellette with one out in the seventh, but Deza came in and got Roberto Mena to ground into an inning-ending double play. The 25-year-old righty went on to retire the next six batters, all on groundouts.
Frederick's strong pitching was backed by timely hitting. Former first-round pick Billy Rowell snapped a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the second. An inning later, Brandon Tripp smacked a two-run homer and Jason White ripped a solo shot to give the Keys (18-27) a 4-0 cushion.
Erick Abreu (6-4) gave up four runs on eight hits, fanning five without a walk over four innings to take the loss.
Alan Friedman is a contributor to MLB.com.