Martin's masterpiece puts Mavs on brink

Rangers No. 9 prospect fans 15 over seven hitless innings in Game 2

Brett Martin was 4-4 with a 4.41 ERA and 70 strikeouts over 69 1/3 innings across three levels this year. (Mike Andruski/MiLB.com)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | September 17, 2016 2:07 AM

Brett Martin's outing on Friday night was so good, it not only silenced his opponents, it silenced Martin himself. 

"Honestly, I'm speechless," the ninth-ranked Rangers prospect said. "I don't think I've ever pitched that well in my entire life."

Martin amassed a career-high 15 strikeouts over seven no-hit innings, walking one and setting the tone in High Desert's 1-0 win at Visalia in Game 2 of the best-of-5 California League Championship Series. The dominant performance put the Mavericks one victory from the title in the franchise's final season.

"It's huge, for sure," Martin said. "It makes it even better that we're going back to High Desert, back home tomorrow."

The 21-year-old left-hander started the year at Class A Hickory but missed June and July with a Grade 1 UCL sprain. Friday's gem was his longest outing since May 29.

"I'm glad to be here pitching now," he said. "I don't know what it was, but from the first inning I was in a groove and I stayed in it all the way through the seventh. Something like that's not possible without [catcher] Jose Trevino and [third baseman] Josh Morgan and all my infielders."

Having struck out the side in the first inning and cruised through the fourth without allowing a baserunner, Martin said he felt good about the way things were unfolding but didn't find the no-hitter in a scoreless tie in a championship series to be particularly intense.

"Honestly, it wasn't. For some reason, I was very relaxed. Probably by the fourth or fifth, I noticed I had a no-hitter, but I didn't want to think about that. I just wanted to stay calm," he said. "Baseball's a funny game. After every inning, I just went back to the dugout and relaxed. I told myself, 'Hey, just go out there and compete the same way you did [last] inning."

High Desert manager Howard Johnson let Martin (1-0) know his night was over after 91 pitches -- 67 strikes -- before the eighth. 

"He told me I did a great job," the 2014 fourth-round pick said. "Obviously, I tried to talk my way into going back out there, but it wasn't in the cards. That's OK, that's fine. I did all I could to help the guys and I had a good game."

Jeffrey Springs took over and allowed one hit while fanning five en route to his first postseason save. Twenty of the 27 outs recorded by the Mavs were strikeouts.

"You could tell as the night was going on, they were going to struggle against guys throwing from the left side," Martin said. "When Springs came in, I knew it was over. He came in and did his job and executed."

Trevino, the Rangers' No. 21 prospect, was 2-for-4 and scored the game's only run on a sixth-inning groundout by No. 12 prospect Jairo Beras.

"I played with Trevino last year in Hickory, and now that I'm here with him, it's like he never left. We have good chemistry and he's a great guy," Martin said. "He's always trying to get his team back in the game, and those two hits tonight were huge. That was huge for everybody."

D-backs No. 26 prospect Justin Donatella (0-1) went six innings for Visalia, giving up a run on seven hits and two walks while striking out three.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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