Cory Rasmus is no stranger to big game performances, but Tuesday's effort marked a memorable start for the 23-year-old of another kind.
Rasmus, who won the MiLBY Award for best Best Single-Game Performance among short-season players in 2009, fell one strikeout short of tying a Carolina League record when he struck out the first eight batters he faced for Class A Advanced Lynchburg on Tuesday.
The former Braves' first-round pick was literally untouchable through the first two innings against Salem. But the No. 9 hitter, Vladimir Frias, chopped a grounder in front of home plate in the third. He was thrown out by catcher Braeden Schlehuber, but it ended the streak.
Rasmus picked up his ninth strikeout shortly thereafter, whiffing Peter Hissey to open the fourth.
The right-hander from Columbus, Ga., nearly matched the mark set by two pitchers -- Tidewater's Rudy May began his start on June 2, 1964 with nine straight strikeouts, as did Brian Fisher, who did it for Durham on April 30, 1982.
It went downhill quickly for the Lynchburg starter, though. Reynaldo Rodriguez tagged Rasmus for an RBI triple and then raced home on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Derrik Gibson added a two-run homer an inning later.
Rasmus took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk over 4 1/4 frames. His ERA stands at 8.13.
A South Atlantic League All-Star last summer, Rasmus, the brother of St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus, struck out nine in a seven-inning no-hitter on Aug. 11, 2009 against Princeton. He fanned 102 batters over 124 1/3 innings across two levels last year.