There have been times this season, typically when he's put runners on base, that Ofelky Peralta has had trouble staying composed. That wasn't a problem on Friday night.
The Orioles' No. 14 prospect twirled a rain-shortened, five-inning no-hitter, striking out eight, as Class A Delmarva beat Hagerstown, 5-0, at Perdue Stadium.
It was the third no-hitter in Shorebirds history and the first since John Means pitched a seven-inning gem last July 31 in a 4-0 win over Charleston.
Peralta saw a runner reach first in the opening frame on an error by shortstop Ricardo Andujar. He mowed through the Suns into the fourth when he issued a two-out walk to Rhett Wiseman. The 19-year-old right-hander worked a 1-2-3 fifth before the game was called with one out in the bottom of the inning.
"He's starting to pitch more with his fastball early in games and establish it a bit more and then going to his changeup late the second or third time going through the lineup to give himself a chance to keep guys off his fastball," Delmarva manager Ryan Minor said. "But fastball command has been a key for him. When he's been able to locate his fastball early in games, he's had a lot more success."
Peralta (5-4) pitched to a 2.55 ERA through the end of May before posting a 6.85 ERA in five June starts. He's rebounded in his last two outings, yielding one hit over 11 scoreless innings in July.
"When he does struggle, it's always about his fastball command, getting behind hitters, and then he's not able to throw his changeup as much, so he has to stick with the fastball," Minor said. "[When he's struggled], he was trying to do a little too much, trying to overthrow a little bit and not locating and letting his fastball work for him.
"What he's been able to do in his last couple games is maintain his delivery and fastball command, get ahead of hitters and use his changeup, which is a plus pitch for him."
The native of the Dominican Republic has struggled at times this season staying composed on the mound after running into trouble, Minor noted.
"Our pitching coach [Blaine Beatty] works with keeping his hands soft and keeping everything in rhythm and on time as far as his delivery. We're just trying to slow things down for him," Minor said. "Whenever he'd give up a few hits or a run or two, the game would speed up on him and he got a little too fast with his tempo and his delivery, trying to throw the ball harder and not trying to locate it. And that's where he's ran into trouble.
"Beatty has done a great job of maintaining [Peralta's] bullpen routine and working to keep him over the rubber and not get to far out of whack. He's been making adjustments in-game that comes the longer the year goes on. Being a young player, if you're able to make adjustments early in your career and understand what you're doing and why you're making adjustments, it makes the game easier for you."
The Shorebirds scored all of their runs in the fourth as Alex Murphy and Ricardo Andujar hit back-to-back RBI doubles and Drew Turbin followed with two-run homer.
Hagerstown starter Jefry Rodriguez (6-5) gave up five runs on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings.