A sluggish start turned into a no-hit ending for Legends' Stumpf

mmaloney@herald-leader.comJuly 3, 2013 

Lexington Legends pitcher Daniel Stumpf

  • Thursday

    Legends at West Virginia

    When: 7:05 p.m.

    Radio: WLXG-AM 1300

Daniel Stumpf says he "didn't feel too good" as he warmed up in the bullpen Tuesday night.

"My arm didn't feel alive, I didn't feel like the ball was coming out," the Lexington Legends left-hander said. "I told Cam (Gallagher), my catcher, 'I feel terrible.' So my game plan going into last night was just stay composed, hit my spots and stay down in the zone."

The plan worked as Stumpf fired a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over the visiting Greenville Drive. The game was the opener of a doubleheader sweep, both games scheduled for seven innings.

Raul Mondesi accounted for the game's lone run, blasting a first-inning home run.

A 6-foot-1, 209-pound left-hander, Stumpf (6-6, 3.30) threw the third no-hitter in the Legends' 13-year history.

Derek Stanford, Chris George and Kirk Saarloos combined for a no-hitter against Hickory in 2001, and Chris Devenski pitched a nine-inning no-hitter against Rome last September.

"Throughout this whole year we've been on the same page. I caught him last year, so I know his tendencies and what he likes to do. I think he trusts me, and it worked out," Gallagher said. "I started thinking about (a no-hitter) the sixth inning. I try not to think about it; I try not to change the game plan just because he's got it going. Just try to go out there and see what's working. His change-up was really working yesterday and he was pounding the strike zone."

Stumpf, 22, struck out three and walked one, retiring the last nine batters he faced.

Relying on a fastball and change-up through three innings, he then broke out his curveball.

Greenville's Aneury Tavarez walked with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, but was caught stealing.

David Chester reached first on a fourth-inning error, moved to second on a passed ball and to third on an infield out, but was stranded.

Stumpf retired the last nine batters. In the top of the seventh, Jose Vinicio fouled out to Gallagher, Drew Turocy grounded to second baseman Kenny Diekroeger, and Chester grounded to third baseman Michael Antonio.

"The last batter, I knew (the no-hitter) was up there still. I was like, 'I've got to make my pitches and hit my spots,'" Stumpf said. "I owe a huge credit to my defense last night and my catcher, Cameron Gallagher. And Raul Mondesi for hitting the home run."

His gem came on the same night Cincinnati Reds right-hander Homer Bailey no-hit the San Francisco Giants.

That Stumpf's no-hitter was seven innings rather than nine made no difference.

"As far as I'm concerned, it goes down in the books as a complete game and it's a no-hitter regardless, seven innings or nine," he said. "I was feeling strong. I know the bullpen started getting some work in the seventh inning, but I was feeling good and ready to go for whenever. I was just hoping (Manager Brian Buchanan) was going to leave me in and let me finish the game."

From Humble, Texas, Stumpf studied criminal justice at San Jacinto Community College in Houston. After going 8-2 with a 2.27 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 111 innings in 2012, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the ninth round that year.

Last year, with the Burlington Royals, Stumpf went 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA, and tied for sixth in the Appalachian League with five saves.

He had never thrown a no-hitter until Tuesday, though.

"I've always been told the fifth inning is the hardest to get out of. After I got out of the fifth inning last night, I looked up there and I thought that there could be a chance that I was able to get away with it," Stumpf said. "I got three quick outs in the sixth inning, and then I got the first guy out in the seventh, I almost felt like it was smooth sailing from there. I had a good chance."


Thursday

Legends at West Virginia

When: 7:05 p.m.

Radio: WLXG-AM 1300

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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