B.J. Salsbury took the mound for his first start of the season, not wanting to repeat what he did in his professional debut last June. He pretty much did the exact opposite.
Salsbury tossed six hitless innings in his full-season debut Saturday as the Augusta GreenJackets coasted to an 8-2 victory over the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
Selected by the Giants in the 14th round of the 2009 Draft, Salsbury began his career in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Last June 24, he surrendered five runs -- three earned -- on five hits and a walk in one inning against the Arizona League A's.
"First [start], I had a lot of adrenaline going," he admitted. "I was hit around a little bit in my first game [last year]."
The GreenJackets calmed the nerves of the 20-year-old right-hander by scoring five times in the top of the first.
"It helps when they put up a five-spot in the first inning. When you have a 5-0 lead, you can go right after them," Salsbury said.
The Mt. San Jacinto College product was in trouble only once, getting former first-round pick Kyle Skipworth to ground out with runners at first and second to end the opening inning. He retired 12 of the next 13 batters before Michael Pasek reached on a wild third strike in the fifth.
"Can't complain," Salsbury said. "For the most part, it was my fastball and slider. I throw a sinker and I was working off that all night. My No. 1 goal tonight was to keep the ball down."
Keeping the ball down has been the mantra of GreenJackets pitching coach and former Major League left-hander Steve Kline.
"He always tells me to keep the ball down. You stay out of trouble if you keep the ball down," Salsbury said. "If I can work the corners, that's just a bonus. If I keep the ball down, I'm probably going to be successful."
Chris Gloor, picked three rounds after Salsbury in the 2009 Draft, kept the no-hitter intact until the ninth. With one out, Chad Cregar singled under the glove of diving first baseman Luke Anders.
"That was a really good try. He just missed it," Salsbury said.
Greensboro ended up scoring twice in the ninth before Jose Casilla came on to get the final out. He secured the third straight win to open the season for Augusta and wrap up a pretty good night for Salsbury.
"I'm basically taking it one game at a time, one pitch at a time. But it's everything I dreamed of," Salsbury said. "A lot of kids growing up want to be a professional baseball player. I'm just making the best of it, trying to have fun."