On Saturday, JoJo Romero and Class A Advanced Clearwater finished one questionable hit shy of a no-hitter. On Sunday, Harold Arauz left no doubt.The Phillies right-hander tossed a seven-inning no-no as Class A Advanced Clearwater edged Fort Myers, 2-0, to earn a doubleheader split at Spectrum Field. He walked one
On Saturday, JoJo Romero and Class A Advanced Clearwater finished one questionable hit shy of a no-hitter. On Sunday, Harold Arauz left no doubt.
The Phillies right-hander tossed a seven-inning no-no as Class A Advanced Clearwater edged Fort Myers, 2-0, to earn a doubleheader split at Spectrum Field. He walked one -- facing one batter over the minimum -- and racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts.
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Coming off an outing in which he surrendered six runs on 10 hits over four innings, Arauz (4-2) produced the Threshers' first no-hitter since three players combined on one against St. Lucie on July 10, 2016.
The 22-year-old got off to a masterful start Sunday, striking out six while breezing through the first three frames. He stayed perfect through the sixth.
"I was aware of it the whole time, but I started thinking about it probably around the fifth," Clearwater pitching coach Aaron Fultz said. "I was really hoping that he could give me five innings tonight because it was just a spot start for him. I was hoping for five innings and then at that point there was no way I could take him out of the game."
In the fifth, Arauz took a grounder off the leg from Sean Miller. Although the injury did not prevent him from continuing, Fultz said the pain seemed to take Arauz's mind off the perfect game between innings. None of his teammates or coaches dared bring it up for fear of breaking his focus.
Three outs from perfection, the Panama native struck out Tanner English to start the seventh. However, he issued a walk to Brandon Lopez to give the Miracle their first baserunner.
Arauz recovered to retire Mitchell Kranson on a comeback, then needed just one pitch to notch the final out against Zander Wiel, who lifted it into center field, where Carlos Duran made the grab.
"It was a quick at-bat," Fultz said. "As soon as the ball went up, it was kind of relief and excitement for him because that's a pretty special thing to throw a no-hitter in a Minor League baseball game."
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Arauz's teammates reacted accordingly.
"They swarmed the mound and they had the water cooler and they dumped it on him," Fultz said. "It was fun watching. The kids were just as excited as he was."
Arauz's effort highlighted a dominant stretch for the Threshers pitching staff, which has posted a pair of shutouts while allowing a total of four hits over 23 innings in the last three games.
"In my opinion, [Romero's start] yesterday should have been a no-hitter. Of course, I'm the pitching coach, but in my opinion it was a questionable call," Fultz said. "Heck, the first game of the doubleheader today our pitcher was perfect through four innings. … The guys have been doing a heck of a job. All three starters, all three games."
Keaton Steele gave up a run on four hits while fanning two over three innings to fall to 2-6 for Fort Myers.
Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21.