Playing in a park named for one of baseball's most prodigious home run hitters, it was Mobile pitcher Wes Roemer who stole the show on Monday.
Roemer took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, but ultimately didn't factor into the decision after allowing a run on one hit over 7 2/3 innings as the host BayBears beat the Carolina Mudcats, 6-1, at Hank Aaron Park.
Roemer, who struck out four, ran into trouble in the eighth, plunking Jose Castro for the second time to start the frame. After retiring Miguel Rojas on a line drive to center fielder A.J. Pollock, Roemer surrendered an RBI double to James Skelton to tie the game, 1-1. Roemer got Kyle Day to fly out to Pollock before giving way to reliever Bryan Shaw.
"I had struck him (Skelton) out a couple of times on the fastball and I was looking for the strikeout," Roemer said.
"It wasn't a bad pitch, but it wasn't what I wanted."
As if to add insult to injury, Roemer gave up a hit to the one player who will never let him live it down.
"Skelton is actually one of my good buddies, we played on a traveling team together," Roemer said. "I'm never going to hear the end of it. I didn't even want to look at him. I'm sure I'll see him tonight, but he has my number and I'm sure he'll be calling me in a bit."
Roemer faced four over the minimum for the Double-A BayBears, who have never had a no-hitter in their history. The D-Backs' sandwich pick in 2007 threw 66 of his 108 pitches for strikes, but was quick spread the credit around.
"First off, I wanted to thank my catcher Ed Easley," Roemer said. "He called a heckuva game. I didn't shake him off all night. It was more a team effort than anything, guys made some great plays behind me. My fastball was working well, I was able to locate it down. It was one of those nights where everything was working well."
The 24-year-old right-hander has had a strong season in a return to the Southern League, going 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA. He was the league's Pitcher of the Week for May 2 after striking out 12 over seven scoreless innings on April 30 against Birmingham. It's a night-and-day difference for a pitcher who gave up 61 runs in 71 2/3 innings at Triple-A Reno last year.
"When you get knocked around like that you want to go out there and fight more," the California native said. "I wanted to come back ready for the next year and show that's not me. My arm feels good, I have a lot of juice in it and I want to finish strong."
Shaw struck out Quintin Berry and allowed a hit in a scoreless ninth to earn his third win.
Ryan Wheeler was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, breaking the tie with a single in the eighth. Easley cleared the bases with a double and Pollock collected two hits.