Sergio Romo has been unbeatable as a starter for the Augusta GreenJackets. On Thursday, he was untouchable.
Romo combined with David Quinowski and Osiris Matos on the first no-hitter in the South Atlantic League this season as the GreenJackets blanked the Rome Braves, 5-0, at State Mutual Stadium.
The 23-year-old right-hander allowed just one base runner while striking out five in seven innings. He retired the last 19 batters he faced, left after throwing 92 pitches and improved to 10-2.
"My heart's pounding, that's for sure," Romo said. "I'm really happy to do this for my team.
"I was excited the whole game. Early on, you don't think about a no-hitter, but later on, you really have to try not to think about it. I was excited for the challenge more than anything."
Quinowski and Matos each pitched a perfect inning. Matos struck out two in the ninth, getting Quentin Davis on a 1-2 pitch to complete the SAL's first no-hitter since Hagerstown's Gaby Hernandez blanked West Virginia on June 19, 2005. Eric Glaser pitched Augusta's last no-hitter on Aug. 18, 2000.
"Of course, I wanted be out there in the ninth," Romo said. "I wanted to see if I could go all nine innings, but I'd rather just win the game. I wasn't upset at all. Our bullpen has been strong. They've been consistent all season."
Romo had been part of that group for much of the first half, with 18 of his first 21 appearances coming as a reliever. But he has dominated since moving into the starting rotation regularly on July 25. The California native has tossed three straight seven-inning victories and is 7-0 with a 1.81 ERA as a starter.
Against the Braves (20-26), the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder spotted his fastball and used his curveball as an out pitch. Other than a breaking ball that hit Cody Clark's left arm with two outs in the opening inning, Romo was flawless.
"I felt strong today. I felt good," Romo said. "(Catcher Barry Gunther) and I were in the groove from the beginning. I never really had to shake him off at all. He was really aggressive with his calls."
Gunther, who went 1-for-3 and scored twice, came home on Antoan Richardson's forceout in the third to give his pitcher a 1-0 lead.
Richardson went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs to help Augusta improve to 36-11.
Rome starter Dustin Evans (2-2) yielded two runs -- one earned -- on four hits and two walks with one strikeout before leaving due to a strained groin after 5 1/3 innings.