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Hermsen, GCL Twins pitch no-hitter

Former sixth-round pick tosses six perfect innings against Orioles
June 24, 2009
SARASOTA, Fla. -- For his team's first road game of the season, Twins manager Jake Mauer could not have asked for anything perfect.

Three Twins pitchers nearly did.

The Twins pitched a combined no-hitter, facing the minimum 27 batters, in a 5-0 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday in Gulf Coast League action at Twin Lakes Park.

"It was one of those GCL specials where the team that makes the least mistakes wins the game," said Mauer, whose younger brother, Joe, is Minnesota's All-Star catcher. "If you have good pitching and you play good defense, you have a good chance to win."

Twins starter B.J. Hermsen went six perfect innings, striking out three.

"We caught the ball fairly well and Hermsen was very solid," said Mauer.

Hermsen, Minnesota's sixth-round pick in the 2008 Draft, was brilliant in his professional debut, inducing a dozen grounders without walking a batter.

The West Delaware High School product committed to Oregon in 2008, but ended up signing late with the Twins -- he didn't pitch last summer and was assigned to the GCL to begin his career this season. The right-hander went 10-0 with a 0.63 ERA in 66 2/3 innings in his senior year of high school, enough to earn a $650,000 signing bonus from Minnesota.

A couple of odd hops turned into good breaks for the Twins infield, who recorded 12 outs behind the 6-foot-5 right-hander from Masonville, Iowa. Seven of them went to third baseman Rory Rhodes, a 6-foot-7 Australian who will not turn 18 until July 28.

Hermsen, 19, threw just 58 pitches. He ended his day by throwing out Edwin Cintron on a bunt attempt in the sixth.

Dakota Watts threw two scoreless innings, but nearly threw away the perfect game when he threw wildly to first after fielding Moises Ciriaco's comebacker in the seventh. First baseman In Kuyn Kang was able to get the tag on the Orioles' leadoff man to keep the no-hitter alive. Kang also snagged a low throw from Rhodes on a two-hopper off David Calderon's bat to end the seventh.

The team's bid for a perfect game ended when Watts issued a one-out walk to Xavier Lopez. Lopez lost track of the outs and was doubled up on Anyl Tejeda's fly ball to center.

Jose Gonzalez pitched a perfect ninth to seal the no-hitter. Rhodes caught Cintron's foul popup outside of third to end the game.

Jody Royce is a contributor to