Four Hot Rods combine on no-hitter
Bowling Green's first-ever nine-inning no-hitter was so unexpected, Marcus Jensen didn't even know it happened until after he closed out the game Friday night.
"I actually didn't realize we had a no-hitter going until it was kind of brought up, but it was probably better that I didn't know," Jensen said. "I was pretty focused and I just kind of get tunnel vision.
"It's kind of embarrassing, but yeah, I didn't know."
Despite combining for seven walks and allowing an unearned run, four Hot Rods made team history in a 14-1 rout of Lansing at Bowling Green Ballpark.
"All the guys were excited, it doesn't happen everyday," Hot Rods pitching coach Kyle Snyder said. "It's not how you would draw it up, but under the circumstances, I'm certainly pleased."
Bowling Green starter Blake Snell left after giving up a run and walking five batters in three innings. He struck out four while battling his control.
"It was hard for me to spot up, but when I did, it was in the right time and the right place," said Snell, the Rays' No. 7 prospect.
Eduar Quinonez (5-3) followed Snell and earned the win with three strikeouts and a walk in three frames. Next came Nick Sawyer, who gave up one walk in 1 2/3 innings. Jensen recorded the final four outs without walking a batter.
"[Jensen] was saying that he didn't know about the no-hitter," Snell said. "Sawyer didn't know, either, that's what made it even better. And it's probably why it happened. [Catcher] Luke Maile felt like he was the only one who knew it."
"That's not typically how you would draw up a no-hitter, but the four pitchers competed pitch for pitch," Snyder added. "Snell fought off some bouts of inconsistency and ran his pitch count up pretty deep -- 70 through three innings. Quinonez did an excellent job attacking the strike zone and the other two came in and adopted the same philosophy."
Snyder stresses creating "forced contact," a message that got through to Jensen, even if the no-hitter didn't.
"We try to attack hitters, go out and be aggressive. The way we work as a staff, we're a team that usually pitches for contact," the 21-year-old right-hander said. "We just try to throw strikes and the defense will do the rest."
Along with piling up a season-high 14 runs, Bowling Green played great defense. Left fielder Marty Gantt robbed Dalton Pompey of an extra-base hit with a leaping catch near the warning track to open the ninth.
"That was incredible," Jensen said. "He always makes plays like that, he's a go hard or go home type guy, my hat is always off to guys like that. I threw a fastball away and [Pompey] tattooed it, kind of like a fade, and I said, 'This is going to be a really, really close play.' He ended up making that diving catch and I was like, 'Wow!'"
The only other no-hitter in franchise history occurred on July 9, 2011, when Victor Mateo spun a seven-inning gem against Lake County.
Rays No. 16 prospect Tyler Goeddel drove in three runs and Ryan Dunn went 4-for-4 to lead the Hot Rods offense.
Friday night marked the second time this season the Lugnuts have been no-hit. South Bend's Kyle Schepel pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against them on April 14.
Brandon Simes is a contributor to MLB.com.