When Michael Baumann came within an out of a seven-inning no-hitter in the Carolina League on April 30, he thought he might never get another chance to accomplish the feat.
But when the No. 24 Orioles prospect climbed the mound for the ninth inning for the first time in his professional career Tuesday in the Eastern League, he got that second opportunity and made the most of it.
Baumann completed his first career no-hitter, striking out 10 and walking two as Double-A Bowie topped Harrisburg, 6-0, at Prince George's Stadium. It marked the club's first nine-inning no-no since Radhames Liz pulled off the feat on June 1, 2007.
Video: Bowie's Baumann completes no-no
"It's a great feeling, my head is still spinning trying to wrap around what happened," Baumann said. "It was a great feeling."
The 2017 third-rounder was efficient, throwing 63 strikes on 94 pitches. A lot of that tied into the gameplan Baumann (2-1) worked on with catcher Carlos Perez. The right-hander generally relies on his fastball and slider, but Baysox pitching coach Kennie Steenstra said his hurler mixed in some curveballs and changeups to keep the Senators off balance.
Five outings (three starts) into his Double-A tenure, Baumann sports a 0.33 ERA. The Minnesota native has allowed one hit over 15 scoreless frames in his last two starts. Overall, he's allowed one run and 10 hits over 27 innings for a 0.67 WHIP for Bowie.
"He's such a great kid," Steenstra said. "In just the short amount of time he's been here, getting to know him and what kind of kid he is and what kind of work ethic he has, it's been a pleasure already in the few weeks getting to know him and watching him pitch. It's one of the coolest moments we've had in a while."
Gameday box score
Both player and coach noted the integral part Perez in making history happen. They said the duo stayed on the same page from pitch one all the way to the final called strike. The adroitly called game helped the Baysox starter record five first-pitch outs and limit the Senators to only one three-ball count outside of the two free passes.
"The gameplan was just to get ahead and attack the batters," Baumann said. "Carlos was really working with me behind the plate and I was really trusting what he was putting down. He was a wall back there, he made some great receptions. I tip my cap to him."
The right-hander got off to an inauspicious start, walking Michael A. Taylor on six pitches to start the game. But Baumann worked out of the early trouble on two pitches by getting second-ranked Nationals prospect Luis Garcia to ground into a double play and Drew Ward to bounce out to second.
Baumann set down 19 in a row until Ward drew a two-out walk in the seventh. No. 19 Nationals prospect Tres Barrera popped out to first to close out the frame. After that, Baumann realized he might have his opportunity to etch his name in the history books.
"It started to sink in and made me realize that this actually might happen," he said. "But yeah, my head is still spinning. There was a lot of adrenaline going on."
2019 Minor League milestones
The game was scoreless through five as Senators starter Steven Fuentes posted matching zeros. Bowie broke through with six runs over the next two frames off righties Brad Boxberger and Brady Dragmire in support of their starter. The game remaining close until the late innings only made Baumann better, according to Steenstra.
"Especially through the first five innings, their starter was fantastic," the coach said. "It was a very tight game and I think that helped Mike stay focused, because he knew he had to try and match [Fuentes]. He was able to keep his concentration and was plugging along. I was proud, he's been trying to mix in some extra changeups and curveballs and he was doing that in the seventh, eighth and ninth."
Baumann had never pitched more than seven frames in a start since turning pro in 2017 prior to Tuesday night. The Jacksonville University product was cognizant of the fact he was heading into new territory. A number of good plays by his defense put him more at ease.
"I just kept saying, 'You got this, just go out there, keep doing it,'" the 23-year-old said. "Having the defense behind me, there were a few plays where I thought the ball was going to land. I know [Rylan Bannon] made a great play at third, there were a couple of plays up the middle between [second baseman Jesmuel Valentin and shortstop Mason McCoy] that helped a lot. ... As the game went on, I could just keep trusting those guys behind me."
2019 MiLB include
Propelled by a perfect eighth on eight pitches, Baumann came back out for the ninth and finished with aplomb. After Austin Davidson struck out and Rafael Bautista grounded out, he capped off his piece of history by fanning Taylor looking.
"I told myself that if it happened, I wouldn't get too, too wound up," the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder said. "I've never gone out back for the ninth, and for it to be in a situation like that was a pretty cool experience."
In the days of pitch and innings limits, Baumann put himself in some rare company. Of the 19 no-hitters this season, he was only one of four to go the distance. So Steenstra was impressed with what not only what his player did on the field, but how he remained focused and composed during tense moments.
"I think it's a natural ability of his to hold that concentration and not get too crazy with things," the pitching coach said. "I'm sure he hasn't been in that situation before -- not many of us have -- so for him to carry his stuff and location the last few innings, that's to his credit.
"He works extremely hard and you love seeing good things happen to good people."