Springfield comes within two outs of no-no

Cardinals No. 24 prospect Helsley, two others combine on gem

Ryan Helsley has allowed four homers over 110 1/3 innings across two levels this season. (Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers)

By Michael Leboff / MiLB.com | August 11, 2017 10:17 PM

Ryan Helsley showed his wild side in his third Double-A start on Friday night and still came close to having his name in the record books.

The Cardinals' No. 24 prospect didn't allow a hit but issued five walks and struck out six in six innings to lead Springfield to a 7-0 win over Corpus Christi. Pedro Echemendia hurled two scoreless frames before Rowan Wick allowed a one-out double in the ninth to end the bid for the first no-hitter in team history. 

Video: Helsley pitches six hitless frames for Springfield

Gameday box score

"I hate walking people. It's not something I like to do, no pitcher does," Helsley said. "There were a couple of times where pitches could have went my way, but that's just how baseball is. You need to get back on the mound and battle so I can start the next guy off with a strike."

Helsley (2-0) worked around a walk in each of the first two innings and struck out three. The 23-year-old needed just five pitches to retire the side in order in the third. 

"I've been mixing my pitches well and getting ahead so I can keep hitters off-balance. I've done a good job of mixing so the hitters don't have an idea of what's coming," the hard-throwing right-hander said. "At any level in professional baseball, guys can hit velocity so you need to have two or three other pitches you can throw for strikes so that they have that in the back of their mind, another pitch for them to look out for."

Helsley issued a walk in each of the next three innings, but was in position for his second consecutive victory with Springfield up, 3-0.

"I was trying to make pitches better than they needed to be," the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, native said. "I was trying to make the perfect pitch instead of just making a quality pitch to get them out. It's something that will take a little time to understand as I grow and mature as a pitcher."

Echemendia retired all six Corpus Christi batters to carry the no-no into the ninth. He was replaced by Wick, who walked Antonio Nunez and got top Astros prospect Kyle Tucker to fly out to center field before Jon Singleton ripped a double to center.

Video: Hooks' Singleton breaks up Springfield's no-hit bid

"I had the TV going. It was a really exciting moment and I thought we were going to get it, but Singleton got a pitch to hit and came through for his team," Helsley said. 

The 2015 fifth-round pick started the season with Class A Advanced Palm Beach, where he was 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings. Helsey was promoted to the Texas League on July 31.

"It was awesome. I had been waiting on the call for a while. It was really awesome, I called my mom and it was an amazing moment," the 6-foot-1, 195-pound hurler said. "It's definitely up there for me, to get rewarded for all your hard work. I was super-happy."

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In three Double-A starts, Helsley has a 1.62 ERA and 1.32 WHIP with 20 punchouts in 16 2/3 innings.

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"I've taken the same mentality from Palm Beach with me to Springfield, working ahead of guys and trusting my stuff. I think that's the biggest thing for me -- trusting my ability and knowing I can pitch here," Helsley said.

Jose Adolis Garcia belted two homers and drove in four runs on a three-hit night for the Cardinals. 

Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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