No-hitters happen with some frequency in Minor League Baseball. During the last full season in 2019, teams across the game combined for 31 of them, the vast majority going nine innings or even longer. Over the Sacramento River Cats' entire history dating back to 2000, the franchise had never had
No-hitters happen with some frequency in Minor League Baseball. During the last full season in 2019, teams across the game combined for 31 of them, the vast majority going nine innings or even longer. Over the Sacramento River Cats' entire history dating back to 2000, the franchise had never had one in a nine-inning contest.
Starter Norwith Gudino combined with relievers Conner Menez, Tyler Cyr and Trevor Gott on that milestone en route to Triple-A Sacramento's 4-0 victory over visiting Salt Lake.
“I was feeling good coming into today," Gudino said through interpreter/teammate Chadwick Tromp. "My arm was feeling good. Like every day, I was doing my routine, making sure I was praying before the game. When I was out there, I felt really good throughout the whole outing. At the end of it, I was just grateful that God gave me the opportunity to be part of something so special.”
Gudino was the most dominant arm on a night full of them for the River Cats. The right-hander was perfect through four frames, dotting his line with strikeouts while racking up nine of them. Gudino fanned two in the first inning and for the final out of the second. That kicked off a string of five straight K’s and seven in eight batters to close his evening. Making just his fourth start in 10 appearances with Sacramento, Gudino threw 32 of his 47 pitches for strikes and overmatched Salt Lake's bats.
“The last couple outings, my splitter wasn’t working the way that I wanted it to," Gudino explained. "I tweaked something and it worked out. My splitter was working, which made a huge difference to make all my pitches. I was just excited and happy to execute them as I wanted to.”
Menez entered from the bullpen first and retired the first four batters he faced before plunking Mitch Walding with a one-out pitch in the sixth -- Salt Lake's only baserunner of the night. Undeterred, the left-hander rebounded to dispatch the next five men he saw, the final two by strikeouts.
“I was confident in the relievers," Gudino said. "As soon as I went out of the game, Conner came in, and I knew he was going to get the job done. After him, [Cyr and Gott], we have a lot of confidence in them. There was no doubt in my mind they’d come in and do the job.”
Cyr worked an efficient eighth, needing just seven pitches to retire the side in order, including a strikeout of Brendon Davis to close the inning.
Gott took over in the ninth. After striking out Walding swinging to open the inning, the righty worked his way back from 3-1 down in the count to freeze Brennon Lund with strike three for the second out. Two pitches later, he induced a grounder from Michael Stefanic to Mauricio Dubon. The shortstop hustled it to first baseman Jason Krizan for the final out of the River Cats’ historic night.
Baseball’s No. 16 overall prospect Joey Bart worked behind the plate with the quartet of hurlers and drew a rave review from his starter.
“We had good communication from the beginning of the game and just maintained that throughout the whole game," Gudino said. "Joey’s a great catcher, and as everybody knows, the organization values him a lot. He did a phenomenal job calling the no-hitter. Not just me but all the relievers, we felt very, very comfortable with him.”
Bart helped out at the plate too, going 2-for-4 in the victory. Fourth-ranked Giants prospect Heliot Ramos went 1-for-3 with a walk behind Bart in the order.
Tyler Maun is a reporter for MiLB.com and co-host of “The Show Before The Show” podcast. You can find him on Twitter @tylermaun.