Royals pitching prospect Daniel Stumpf has had Greenville's number all season. On Tuesday, he turned that success into a moment he'll never forget.
Stumpf pitched the second complete-game no-hitter in team history as Class A Lexington blanked the Drive, 1-0, in the first game of a doubleheader at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
"There are no words to describe how I felt out there," Stumpf said. "I've been in the fifth inning with no hits before, but they would end up piecing a few hits together and getting three or four hits.
"I got out of the bullpen from throwing and said I didn't feel too hot, so my game plan was to just keep the ball down and hit my spots. Catcher Cameron Gallagher called a great game and I just battled the whole game."
It was the Legends' third no-hitter and first since Chris Devenski struck out 16 against Rome on Sept. 1. Derek Stanford, Chris George and Kirk Saarloos combined to no-hit Hickory on July 30, 2001 in Lexington's inaugural season.
Selected in the ninth round of last year's Draft, Stumpf walked one batter, struck out three and faced one over the minimum. He needed only 87 minutes to go seven innings.
The 22-year-old left-hander walked Aneury Tavarez with two outs in the second inning, but Tavarez was caught trying to steal second. The Drive's only other baserunner was David Chester, who reached on first baseman Mark Threlkeld's error, took second on a passed ball and was stranded at third as the potential tying run.
"I was throwing all three of my pitches [fastball, curveball, changeup] for strikes," Stumpf said. "I'm really fond of my changeup and I got a lot of guys to swing through it. I've been working on my curveball with my pitching coach Jerry Nyman and it's night and day compared with what it used to be.
"The last seven-inning game we had, I got to go the whole way. Last night, with all that rain, I was in the clubhouse and I was telling our GM [Seth Poteat] that he should just go ahead and cancel the game so I could go and throw another seven-inning game. Today, he said I should thank him for calling the game."
It marked the fourth time this season the Texas native has not allowed a run. He put up zeros in three of his first five starts, then went through a rocky patch which saw him lose four consecutive games and six of eight.
"A no-hitter is a no-hitter," Nyman said. "It is a landmark that he will never forget. He kept the ball down, he changed speeds effectively and he threw the ball efficiently to both sides of the plate.
"He has a good high three-quarter delivery with pretty efficient use of his core and a good arm."
Stumpf has dominated Greenville this season. He limited the Drive to two hits over five scoreless innings on April 14 to earn his first Class A win, then allowed two hits over 5 1/3 shutout frames six days later.
In three starts against the Red Sox's South Atlantic League affiliate, he's 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, having allowed four hits while striking out 14 over 17 1/3 innings. Against the rest of the league, Stumpf is 3-6 with a 3.64 ERA.
"They have aggressive hitters," he said. "That was my game plan after the first time I pitched against them -- just spot up because they want to swing. Pound the zone, hit my spots and stay down."
Last year with Rookie-level Burlington, Stumpf went 2-1 with five saves and a 1.55 ERA in 19 relief appearances. The Royals used him in the bullpen to limit his workload after he logged 133 innings for San Jacinto College North Junior College, where he was named Most Outstanding Pitcher at the Junior College World Series.
Shortstop Raul Mondesi provided all of the support for Stumpf, going 2-for-3 with a solo homer, his fifth. Third baseman Michael Antonio also had two hits to raise his average to .199.
Greenville's Francellis Montas (1-7) pitched a six-hitter and struck out six in the first complete game of his four-year career.
Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.