Pitching a no-hitter in baseball is unique and rare. Pitching two no-hitters in back-to-back games of a doubleheader on the same day is like winning the lottery.
Four pitchers for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nats pulled off the nearly impossible Sunday by doing just that: combining to throw two seven-inning no-hitters.
In the opener, Joan Baez, down from high Single-A Potomac to work on some of his mechanics, twirled six no-hit innings in a 4-0 win over the GCL Marlins. He struck out seven and walked only one. Jose Jimenez pitched a hitless seventh to finish the game.
In the nightcap, Jared Johnson went four innings without allowing a hit, and was followed by Gilberto Chu (1-1), who finished off the GCL Marlins with three no-hit innings in a 1-0 win. The four innings were the most Johnson had tossed this summer after being drafted out of Palm Beach State Junior College in the 17th round by the Nationals in June.
The GCL Marlins finished 0-for-41 on the day.
Nationals director of player development Mark Scialabba was proud of what the pitchers were able to do in just two games Sunday.
“Very impressive performance by our pitching staff in the GCL,” Scialabba said. “Joan Baez, who is in Florida working on a mechanical adjustment, set the tone in the first game, attacking hitters with his fastball and utilizing his curveball well. Jose Jimenez did a nice job pitching to the bottom of the zone to preserve the no-hitter in the final inning.
“Johnson and Chu followed them in game two by filling up the strike zone, working quickly and mixing in their secondary offerings efficiently, and our team defense was solid behind them. It was a memorable team accomplishment for the club.”