The Oklahoma City Dodgers pitching staff continued its strong start to the season and came three outs away from recording the team’s third-ever no-hitter, eventually hanging on for a 2-1 win over the Nashville Sounds Saturday night at First Tennessee Park.
Through eight innings, the trio of Sam LeCure, Ian Thomas, and Adam Liberatore kept the Sounds hitless and retired 24 of 25 batters. LeCure and Thomas retired the game’s first 17 hitters, and only a two-out walk by Thomas to Bruce Maxwell with two outs in the sixth inning kept the Dodgers from being perfect through eight innings.
The Dodgers (2-1) carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Renato Nunez led off with a double against Chin-Hui Tsao to break up the no-hit bid. Maxwell followed with a RBI single, suddenly putting the tying run on base with none out.
After a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Ladendorf moved pinch runner Matt McBride into scoring position, Tsao struck out Joey Wendle and Andrew Lambo to preserve the win and earn his first save.
Luis Mendoza’s no-hitter against Salt Lake on Aug. 14, 2009 remains the team’s only nine-inning no-hitter since joining the PCL in 1998. There has still never been a combined no-hitter of any length during the team’s PCL era.
Making his team debut—and first start since April 27, 2011—LeCure retired all 12 batters he faced on just 45 pitches. Thomas (1-0) followed by retiring nine of 10 hitters over three innings and earned the win. The lefty struck out three batters. Liberatore pitched a perfect eighth, striking out the final two batters of the inning.
Through the team’s first three games, the OKC pitching staff has allowed just three runs and 14 hits over 28-plus innings. They’ve recorded 24 strikeouts against seven walks and held Nashville 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
One night after being held to one run and three hits over an entire 11-inning game, the Dodgers collected one run and three hits within the game’s first four batters Saturday night. Jose Tabata’s early RBI single gave the Dodgers a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Corey Brown led off the second inning with a triple, but the Dodgers could not convert it into a run, as each of the next three batters struck out.
OKC did extend the lead in the third inning after catching a break. With runners at first and second with one out, Tabata hit a ground ball to third base that had potential to be an inning-ending double play. The Sounds recorded a forceout at second base, but Joey Wendle made an errant throw to first base, allowing another run to score and make it 2-0.
Brown led off the fourth inning with a double, but did not advance past second base. On three separate occasions Saturday, the Dodgers started an inning with a runner in scoring position and none out, but did not score. They finished 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, and are 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position over the first three games of the season.
The Dodgers struck out 12 times Saturday night and have now struck out 37 times over the first three games.
Weatherford, Okla. native and former University of Oklahoma standout Dillon Overton took the loss for Nashville (1-2) in his Triple-A debut. Overton (0-1) labored through four innings, but was able to minimize the damage. The lefty surrendered two runs (one earned) and seven hits. He tied his career high with eight strikeouts to go along with one walk.