Radhames Liz and three relievers combined on a no-hitter as the Frederick Keys blanked the visiting Salem Avalanche, 3-0, on Wednesday afternoon.
The four-pitcher effort was just the fourth no-hitter in Keys' history, and the team's first nine-inning no-no since April 15, 1999 (which also came against Salem). John Maine, currently with the Norfolk Tides, tossed a seven-inning no-hitter for Frederick in 2003.
Liz was absolutely dominant throughout his five-inning stint. The 22-year-old righty struck out 13 batters while walking three. Neil Sellers' popout to catcher Michael Russell to end the third frame marked the first time a batter even put the ball in play against him.
Although Liz showed no signs of tiring, Keys manager Bien Figueroa did not allow him to return to the mound to start the sixth. After all, it was his first start of the year.
"Going into the game, his limit was five innings or 85 pitches," said Figueroa. "After five innings he had thrown 81, so I couldn't put him back out there. I'm here to develop players, not provide no-hitters. Liz is one of the best arms we've got in this organization."
Using Figueroa as his interpreter, Liz remarked on his spectacular Keys debut.
"Everything was working," he said. "My high fastball, sinker and slider all went for strikes. But I understand it's not going to be like this every day. My goal is to pitch all year round and make it to the next level."
After Liz's exit, a trio of relievers combined to preserve the no-hitter. Russell Petrick tossed two innings, while Jeff Montani and Casey Cahill contributed an inning apiece.
Cahill earned the save, his first of the year. He said that maintaining the no-hitter was not the first thing on his mind.
"I tried not to think about it," he said. "The game was still close. What I was most worried about was getting some ground balls and preserving the victory."
After trading zeroes on the scoreboard over the game's first three innings, Frederick plated a run in the fourth. With one out, Dustin Yount singled to move Nolan Reimold to third. With Bryan Bass batting, Reimold scored on a well-executed double steal.
Jarod Rine contributed an RBI single in the fifth inning, while Yount capped the game's scoring with a solo homer in the sixth.
Jimmy Barthmaier (0-1) took the loss, allowing one run on two hits in four innings. Rory Shortell yielded two runs on five hits over three innings of relief.
With a day game Thursday, the Keys (4-1) won't be able to celebrate for long. But Cahill, who had never been involved in a no-hitter at the professional level, said that he and his teammates had an appropriate plan for the remainder of this beautiful spring day.
"We're going to pick up some burgers, hot dogs and brats and have a barbeque," he said. "Just hang out for a while and call it an early night." -- Benjamin Hill/MLB.com
Benjamin Hill is a controbutor to MLB.com.