The last time Trent Thornton’s parents came out to see him play, he had one of the worst outings of the season. They flew to Round Rock from Charlotte to watch their son face the Express on Saturday and got an entirely different show.
The Astros’ 2015 5th-round draft pick took a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Dell Diamond Saturday night to help the Fresno Grizzlies take down Round Rock 6-1 in the first of a four-game series.
“That was a lot of fun,” Thornton said. “Four outs short of what I wanted, but I’ll take it. We played a really good game as a team and played good defense and swung the bats. To be a part of that was pretty cool.”
Express third baseman Nick Noonan smacked a curveball through the right side of the infield to break up the no-no with two outs in the eighth inning.
Thornton said he remembers throwing a couple no-hitters before he got to college, but Saturday was the furthest he’s ever made it in a game since becoming a pro.
“I try to block it out as much as possible and not think about it whatsoever (during the game),” he said. “But you’re that deep into a game and there are things you don’t talk about, but in the back of my mind, I knew I had four more outs.”
Round Rock starter Adrian Sampson (3-3, 6.64 ERA) took the loss, allowing one run on four hits with a pair of strikeouts in four innings of work. Reliever Deck McGuire made his Express debut, allowing five runs on five hits in 1.2 innings.
Rehabbing Rangers shortstop made his first-ever Triple-A appearance, but finished without a hit in four at-bats.
Fresno opened the scoring with a sac fly in the third inning.
McGuire walked in a run in the fifth inning and gave up another hit two at-bats later to allow the Grizzlies to score another run. One inning later, Jack Mayfield blasted a solo home run with no outs, Myles Straw tripled to deep center field and Kyle Tucker Doubled to extend the Fresno lead to 6-0.
Thornton’s perfect game ended in the bottom half of the inning when Round Rock catcher Tony Sanchez walked.
Round Rock got on the board with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when Drew Robinson singled to right field and Willie Calhoun came around to score.
The four-game series continues Sunday at 1:05 p.m. when Express starter David Hurlbut (2-5, 5.54 ERA) will face off with Grizzlies righty Rogelio Armenteros (4-0, 3.63 ERA). First pitch for the games on Monday and Tuesday is 7:05 p.m.
Thornton started the day by watching his alma mater North Carolina take down Oregon State in the College World Series and ended it with a dazzling performance in hot and humid Central Texas.
“It was a good day for the Heels,” he said. “This is the most I’ve sweat all year.”