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Tides' Wright foiled again by Mahtook

Orioles prospect loses no-hit bid on one-out single in seventh
August 30, 2014

To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, Mike Wright experienced deja vu all over again.

The Orioles' No. 7 prospect took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Friday but did not figure in the decision as Triple-A Norfolk dropped a 1-0, 11-inning decision to Durham in the first game of a doubleheader.

After retiring Cole Figueroa to open the seventh, Wright gave up a single to left field to Mikie Mahtook. He struck out Vince Belnome, then gave up another base hit to Jeremy Moore, ending his night. Wright fanned seven and issued three walks, throwing 64 of 98 pitches for strikes.

"It was a ball," Wright told The Virginian-Pilot of Mahtook's hit. "It was about a foot in. The last time he broke it up it was a fastball about letter-high and outside. He's a really good hitter. He's hit some bad pitches really good. I got him out the two at-bats before with fastballs."

It was a case of history repeating itself for Wright (5-11), who came within one strike of a no-hitter against the Bulls on Aug. 21. That bid also was broken up the Mahtook, the Rays' No. 11 prospect, who doubled home a run.

"He's really good," Wright told the newspaper. "He's a solid hitter, he's a really good hitter."

The East Carolina University product's last six starts have been an exercise in frustration for International League foes. He's allowed three earned runs on 28 hits while recording 31 strikeouts over 40 1/3 innings to get his ERA down to 4.61.

"I've just been going out there and having fun," the 24-year-old right-hander said. "I was putting a little too much pressure on myself early in the year, but I've been relaxing and trying to have fun, and the results have come along with it."

After going 4-2 in his last seven starts, Wright isn't sure what's in store as the season winds down.

"Whatever [the Orioles] decide to do with me I'll be fine with, it's at their discretion," he said. "If they need me to go down to Florida and continue throwing, I'm fine with that -- whatever they need me to do."

The Bulls finally broke through when Mike Fontenot led off the 11th with his third homer of the season.

Durham starter Enny Romero gave up one hit -- a second-inning single by Francisco Peguero -- over seven frames, striking out four and walking three. Brandon Gomes followed with two hitless frames and Cory Burns (2-2) worked a hitless 10th for the win. Adam Liberatore earned his fourth save with a perfect 11th.

The Bulls completed the sweep with a 2-1 triumph behind Merrill Kelly (9-4), who yielded an unearned run on five hits over six innings to win his third straight decision.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.