Jose Lopez didn't take the mound in the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader looking to throw a no-hitter.
But because a second-inning single proved to be the only hit against the 23-year-old, he looked back with a little bit of humor at what might have been.
Lopez tossed a one-hitter and struck out seven in his first career shutout as Double-A Pensacola defeated Tennessee, 5-0, in the opener of a twinbill at Smokies Stadium.
Gameday box score
The right-hander threw 60 of 79 pitches for strikes in the seven-inning complete game, another first. He faced one batter over the minimum and retired the last 17 batters to win his fifth consecutive decision.
"Honestly, everything was working tonight," the New Jersey native said. "It was all about attacking the zone tonight. I had a plan with [catcher Joe Hudson] that we went over before the game and didn't deviate from. I know it sounds cliché, but it's true. I was throwing strikes and attacking, and that's what the difference was tonight."
Video: Pensacola's Lopez records final out on comebacker
Lopez (7-1) needed 30 pitches to get through the first two innings, allowing Ian Rice's one-out single in the second. The 2014 sixth-rounder threw only 49 pitches the rest of the way, registering three nine-pitch innings. It was the second straight scoreless outing for Lopez, who extended his shutout streak to 15 innings. Since surrendering 10 runs in back-to-back starts on June 25 and July 1, the Seton Hall product has a 0.96 ERA in seven outings. That's dropped his overall ERA to 2.43 in 13 games, including 11 starts, since his promotion from Class A Advanced Daytona on May 30.
"As baseball players who deal with multiple levels, you think that going up means you need to work differently," he said. "But in talking to guys who have been up here longer, you realize it's the same game. The hitters are more mature and advanced, but if you trust your stuff and execute, it'll play. As a pitcher, you have to try and throw everything for strikes, especially [in Double-A]. Then you try and get them to chase.
"I've been learning at each level and adjusting while continuing to trust my stuff. [Class A Advanced Daytona pitching coach Tom Brown] and [Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin] have worked extensively with me. There's been a few mechanical adjustments made since I got up here, but now that that's out of the way, I'm back to competing. So far, so good."
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Reds top prospect Nick Senzel went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored for the Blue Wahoos, while No. 28 prospect Blake Trahan singled, doubled and scored once.
In the nightcap, Cubs No. 22 prospect Charcer Burks was 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored as the Smokies earned a split with a 2-1 win.