What began as just another start for Jake McCasland ended with a Gatorade shower.
The Giants prospect allowed one baserunner and pitched a seven-inning no-hitter Sunday as Class A Augusta completed a doubleheader sweep with a 1-0 blanking of Delmarva at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
"They dumped about three water buckets on me. I couldn't stop laughing," McCasland said. "It was a pretty good feeling, definitely one of the top highlights of my baseball career. I'll remember this forever."
McCasland (3-4) needed only eight pitches to get through the first inning and cruised through the second. After retiring the first two batters in the third, he got Austin Anderson to hit a ground ball to first. But the right-hander couldn't handle the throw from first baseman Skyler Ewing and was charged with an error. McCasland made up for the miscue by getting Cedric Mullins to bounce to second base.
"The error was on me. I ruined a perfect game for myself," the 2013 26th-round Draft pick said. "I just dropped the ball. I don't know what happened, it just popped out of my glove. I can laugh about it."
McCasland needed only 25 pitches to get through the fourth, fifth and sixth.
"I was getting ahead with multiple pitches," he said. "I was able to throw my slider and changeup and change speeds on my fastball to mix it up in the strike zone early. I wouldn't be able to do it without the way the defense played. They save me on a few that I thought were for sure hits."
The seventh inning was perhaps McCasland's most dominant as he struck out Orioles No. 6 prospect Ryan Mountcastle and Yermin Mercedes before getting Alex Murphy to swing at the first pitch and ground out to third baseman Dillon Dobson. And even though the 24-year-old knew the Shorebirds didn't have a hit, he was not expecting what came next.
"I don't know if the thought of the no-hitter ever really made it into my mind," he said. "It actually didn't pop into my head until all the guys started storming out at me. Then it hit me. I knew they didn't have a hit, but I didn't think the guys weren't going to react the way they did."
McCasland fanned five and threw 52 of 72 pitches for strikes in Augusta's first no-hitter since Aug. 10, 2006, when Sergio Romo, Osiris Matos and David Quinowski combined on a nine-inning gem against Rome.
A University of New Mexico product, McCasland began the season in the bullpen and didn't make his first start until June 13 against Charleston. In six starts, he owns a 1.26 ERA and 0.67 WHIP over 43 innings.
"It's a pretty nice change because I know when I'm going to throw and I can have a better routine throughout the week," he said. "Being a reliever is tough, you've got to be mentally ready every day, and that wears on you. Other than that, it's not a huge difference. You just need to get one hitter at a time and not fill your mind with stuff that you can't control."
Shorebirds starter Cristian Alvarado was almost as good as McCasland, limiting the GreenJackets to a run on four hits and two walks while striking out three over five innings.
Giants No. 11 prospect Jalen Miller plated Johneshwy Fargas with a single to center field in the third to provide all the offense McCasland needed.
Augusta took the opener, 6-0, as Grant Watson (3-5) gave up three hits and fanned five over 5 2/3 innings.
Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com.