Giovanni Soto rolls out no-hitter in 2-1 win over Altoona
The Akron Aeros defeated the Altoona Curve, 2-1, in the first ever solo no-hitter performance at Canal Park by starter Giovanni Soto.
“I realized in about the seventh inning," said Soto. “I was so close to finish the whole game and I said I’m just going to go with experience. I have a catcher who has a lot of experience; whatever he calls I’m going to throw it.”
A first in his career, Soto threw the no hitter to respected veteran catcher Michel Hernandez.
“You’ve got to give the catcher credit too," said Manager Chris Tremie of Hernandez. “ Ultimately Soto throws the ball, but the catcher in those games is a big factor. He did a great job of keeping him in the game, keeping him in the strike zone and bringing him back into the strike zone. He has a great feel for the game.”
In his fourteen year career, this outing was the first time Hernandez had ever caught a no hitter.
On offense, the Aeros put up the first run in the bottom of the first. Center fielder Tyler Holt was the first to put the bat on the ball with a line drive single up the middle. With right fielder Thomas Neal at bat, Holt stole second. Neal grounded to third, but reached on a throwing error by Curve third baseman Kelson Brown resulting in Holt crossing the plate for a 1-0 lead.
Akron returned to the plate in the bottom of the fourth to put up one more. Neal got a ticket up the first base line after being hit by a pitch. Third baseman Ryan Rohlinger advanced Neal to second with a single to the right side. Hernandez singled on a ground ball to third base that got Neal around to the plate making it 2-0.
Altoona scored their sole unearned run of the outing in the fourth. Soto walked second baseman Jarek Cunningham, one of three for the game, and then allowed an RBI ground ball to second base.
The action across the plate ended there for the Curve as Soto continued to dominate batter after batter. Tension grew thicker and thicker inside Canal Park as spectators held their breath at every pitch until the last crack of the bat ended with a fly ball caught up the middle by Holt.
Soto faced 28 batters, throwing 104 pitches for the nine innings. He struck out six and dropped his ERA on the season to 3.73.