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Snell notches Stone Crabs' first no-hitter

Rays prospect fans nine over 5 1/3 innings in rain-shortened gem
August 2, 2014

Blake Snell sat in the first base dugout at Charlotte Sports Park on Saturday, thinking about what could unfold.

The Florida rain could stop soon and he could resume his no-hit bid, the rain could simply end the game or the rain could stop in an hour and his bullpen would take over.

The Rays' No. 13 prospect got his second choice as the umpires called the game with one out in the top of the sixth inning. Stone Crabs manager Jared Sandberg shook his starter's hand, said good job and the public-address announcer confirmed what those in the dugout already knew.

Blake Snell threw the first no-hitter in Stone Crabs history.

"It's a big accomplishment. I went 5 1/3 no-hit innings, and that's a lot to do against a good Daytona team," the newest entry in the Florida State League record book said. "It was pretty special to be able to throw that."

Snell said he felt normal before pitching Class A Advanced Charlotte to a rain-shortened 10-0 rout of Daytona.

"I felt good, I felt like every other start," he said. "Everything felt the same. It didn't hit me until the fifth."

After four near-perfect frames, during which he issues a pair of walks, Snell (4-5) headed to the fifth focused on each at-bat. But with clouds rolling in, his teammates were quick to say, "Let's get through five."

"I knew I had to be quick, just throw strikes and see what they can do," the 21-year-old left-hander said. "I saw the clouds coming [and] I was really just like, 'OK, let's just keep pounding the zone and then the hitters can get back to the plate.'"

Snell retired the side in order and was back on the hill after a 1-2-3 home half of the inning. He got Bjian Rademacher to line out to third baseman Tyler Goeddel, then walked Gioskar Amaya. Jacob Hannemann reached on shortstop Juniel Querecuto's throwing error, but Snell got ahead of Marco Hernandez, 0-2, before the rains came.

The 2011 first-round pick returned to the dugout and sat there for the next 30 minutes. He finally headed to the clubhouse after the crowd was informed of his milestone.

"That's when my manager Jared Sandberg announced that I was the first player in Stone Crabs history to throw a no-hitter. That was special because all my teammates were there," Snell said. "Special to me just the fact that I'm getting better and better. It's great, too, because I did it with my whole team -- we had 10 runs."

Charlotte collected eight hits and three walks in support of its starter, with Granden Goetzman driving in four runs.

Saturday marked the second time Snell has been involved in a no-hitter in his four-year career. With Class A Bowling Green, he allowed an unearned run on five walks over three innings to start a four-pitcher gem on June 22, 2013.

"I still want to try to go a nine-inning no-hitter all to myself, because you have to go through the lineup three or four times. So that's something that would be the most special to me," he said. "But I'm not taking away from this one at all."

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.