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Wlodarczyk, Rondon combine on no-no

Devil Rays' gem is fifth in Minor Leagues in six days
August 19, 2006
With mist, fog and some lighting issues, Southwest Michigan Devil Rays starter Mike Wlodarczyk wondered what else could happen Friday night at C.O. Brown Stadium.

The answer was the fourth no-hitter in team history as Wlodarczyk combined with newcomer Celso Rondon on a 12-0 blanking of the Peoria Chiefs.

"It's really a pleasant surprise," said Wlodarczyk, who surrendered eight runs over five innings and lost his previous start.

Wlodarczyk (8-9) pitched eight innings, striking out seven and walking three. Early on, the Boston College product was aware that he had not given up a hit but explained that he did not really consider the no-hitter in progress until the sixth or seventh.

The 23-year-old left-hander retired the final seven batters he faced before reaching his pitch count.

"We're here to develop first. We don't want to risk anyone throwing more pitches than they should," Southwest Michigan manager Skeeter Barnes said, admitting that "it was tempting" to leave his starter in.

"(You) tip your cap to him," Barnes added.

Rondon took the mound in the ninth and struck out the side in his Midwest League debut, fanning Francisco Tirado with a split-finger fastball, to enter the history books.

The 22-year-old right-hander was promoted Wednesday from the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League, where he was 0-1 with one save and a 1.93 ERA in 14 appearances.

With Devil Rays third baseman Cesar Suarez serving as his interpreter, Rondon said that while the atmosphere was somewhat tense, he was relaxed and focused on getting three outs.

Jino Gonzalez, Matt Larson and Jose De La Cruz combined on Southwest Michigan's last no-hitter on May 28, 2005, against the Beloit Snappers.

This no-hitter was the second in the Minor Leagues on Friday and the fifth in the last six days. Julio De La Cruz of the Clearwater Threshers blanked the Sarasota Reds, 5-0, earlier in the evening in a Florida State League no-hitter.

Suarez provided some run support with a three-run double that capped a six-run fifth. The Devil Rays (24-31) went to post a season high in runs.

"I had some long innings to rest," Wlodarczyk noted.

Jackson Brennan also collected three RBIs with a two-run double in the second and a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Neil Walton drove in two runs, while Matthew Devins and Rhyne Hughes each picked up an RBI for the Devil Rays. Southwest Michigan had dropped four of its previous five games.

"We're just glad to get a win," Barnes said. "A no-hitter is the last thing on our mind."

Peoria starter Fabian Jimenez Angulo (5-9) surrendered eight runs -- six earned -- on six hits with a strikeout and a pair of walks over four innings.

Yusuf Carter, Kyle Reynolds and Davy Gregg walked for the Chiefs (26-29), who got only one runner into scoring position.

Marissa Rega is a contributor to