'Wolves' Collier has close call with no-no

Tigers' prospect spins one-hit shutout in Game 1 of doubleheader

Tommy Collier is 3-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 11 starts since May 4. (Joy R. Absalon/MiLB.com)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | July 6, 2014 12:51 PM

There was a 10-second span on Saturday that made for an emotional roller coaster for Tommy Collier.

The Tigers prospect saw what appeared to be the final out needed to complete a no-hitter. When a fly ball off the bat of Binghamton's Darrell Ceciliani reached the glove of right fielder Steven Moya, the man on the mound raised his hands in the air.

Then he saw the ball role away from Moya's glove.

"I put my hands on top of my head and sighed a little bit," Collier said.

With his next pitch, Collier got Mets No. 15 prospect Jayce Boyd to fly out and complete the seven-inning shutout as Double-A Erie topped Binghamton, 2-0, in Game 1 of a doubleheader.

In the subsequent high-five line, the 24-year-old right-hander was quick to praise Moya -- the Tigers' 20th-ranked prospect -- for his efforts in right field.

"I think anybody would've been excited to be that close, but I was still happy. And hopefully, I can keep it going," Collier said. "It's been over a year that I've gone that deep; it felt good to do all seven."

The Texas native struck out four batters and walked four while throwing 91 pitches. The only time Collier (3-7) seemed to be in trouble was in the first inning when he issued two free passes with one out. Sensing his starter was rattled, SeaWolves pitching coach Jaime Garcia visited the mound.

"He told me to calm down, find down in the zone, just get ahead of guys [and] let [my] defense make plays behind [me]," Collier said. "That calmed me down."

The 6-foot-2 hurler walked another batter in the second, then settled into a groove and retired the next 12 Mets. His fourth walk came in the sixth, but he picked off Kyle Johnson.

After working around Binghamton's only hit in the seventh, Collier had his first scoreless outing of the season and second career shutout -- the first came on May 30, 2012 with Class A West Michigan.

Had the Collier accomplished the feat, it would've been the SeaWolves' first no-hitter since Thad Weber threw an 88-pitch gem on Aug. 22, 2009.

Collier lost his first five starts while compiling an 11.05 ERA. He's brought that figure down to 6.02 and has made five quality starts since May 9.

"I've grown a little, I've matured some and I still have so much to go. I was way too ahead of myself and was being too analytical," he said. "Now I'm just thinking, 'You know you have good stuff' and 'Just trust it. I'm just trying to stay in control [and] have more confidence each outing."

Erie scored the game's only runs in the fifth on a two-out throwing error by second baseman Rylan Sandoval. Aaron Westlake had two hits and scored a run for the SeaWolves.

The B-Mets salvaged a split with a 4-0 win as Hansel Robles (6-6) gave up two hits and struck out six over five-plus innings.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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