Weber pitches Double-A no-hitter
Tigers prospect strikes out career-high 10 in gem
Thad Weber needed only 88 pitches to toss Erie's first no-hitter in almost 14 years on Saturday night at Jerry Uht Park.
The 24-year-old right-hander was so dominant that he spent a lot more time in his own dugout than on the mound.
Weber faced two batters over the minimum and struck out a career-high 10 en route to the historic achievement, but he also did a lot of waiting around between innings as the SeaWolves pounded out 18 hits en route to a 16-0 rout of the Akron Aeros.
"I'm not really the kind of guy who sits on the bench by himself," Weber said. "I was up and walking around, trying to talk to everybody, trying to strike up conversations with different guys. But they were just giving me the head nod. I don't think I sat down the last four innings."
After setting down the first eight batters -- four via strikeouts -- Weber's bid for perfection ended when second baseman Danny Worth booted a grounder by Cristo Arnal with two outs in the third.
Undaunted, Weber got Jose Constanza on a comebacker to end the inning, starting a string of 13 in a row retired before he hit Matt McBride leading off the eighth.
"Pitching a perfect game never really crossed my mind," Weber said. "The defense played great behind me the entire night."
With the crowd of 3,917 hanging on every pitch, the University of Nebraska product did not disappoint. He struck out Lonnie Chisenhall and John Drennen around a flyout by Carlos Rivero to finish off the eighth and got Arnal on a liner to Worth to begin the ninth before fanning Constanza and Josh Rodriguez.
Weber was mobbed by his teammates on the mound after completing Erie's first no-hitter since Elvin Hernandez accomplished the feat against Oneonta on Aug. 24, 1995, when the SeaWolves were still in the short-season New York-Penn League.
"It's an unbelievable feeling to share it with a group of guys like this," said Weber. "It was a pretty surreal feeling. Me and [catcher Jeff Kunkel] hugged pretty hard for a few seconds before I felt everybody else around me. It's something I'm never going to forget."
Detroit's 16th-round pick in the 2008 Draft was so masterful that the only real intrigue surrounding his performance was whether or not the long wait between frames would disrupt his brilliance.
Erie scored at least once in every inning from the second through the seventh, including a pair of three-run outbursts and a seven-run fourth.
But none of that fazed Weber on a night he fired the Eastern League's second no-hitter of the season and first since the Aeros' Jeanmar Gomez tossed a perfect game against Trenton on May 21.
"I really was indifferent [to the long innings]," he said. "Our pitching coach [former Major Leaguer Ray Burris] asked me if I wanted to get up and throw a little, but I was in a comfort zone."
So were SeaWolves hitters.
Leadoff man Deik Scram paced the attack, falling a triple shy of the cycle, driving in a pair of runs and scoring three times.
Michael Bertram homered and drove in four runs and Kunkel did the same as the SeaWolves came to life after totaling only 29 runs in their previous 10 games.
Weber, who went 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts at Class A Advanced Lakeland before being promoted to Erie in June, also tossed his second career complete game. He pitched a five-hitter in a 5-1 victory over Sarasota in his next-to-last start with the Flying Tigers on June 11.
"I've been given an opportunity to advance up here in my first full year," said Weber, who went 1-4 with a 2.56 ERA in 11 outings at Class A West Michigan last season after two appearances in the Gulf Coast League.
"It's taken me a few starts, but I've gotten more comfortable and am figuring out what it takes to be successful in this league. But tonight was unbelievable."
John Torenli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.