|By Ken Jackson|
News-Gazette Staff Writer
The old baseball cliche goes like this: you're only as good as your last start.
If that's true, until Monday you can't get any better than Kissimmee Cobras' pitcher Eric Ireland
Ireland continued his stellar season by tossing a perfect game Wednesday against the St. Petersburg Devil Rays. The 5-0 win was just the fourth perfect game in the Florida State League's 69-year history and the first in 24 years. It was the first one [sic] in Houston organization history.
"That's obviously one of the best games I've ever pitched," said Ireland, who threw a no-hitter as a sophomore at Millikan High School in his hometown of Long Beach, Calif.
Ireland was tidy. He threw just 95 pitches, 69 for strikes, and according to his catcher, Mike Rose, he faced just two three-ball counts and fell behind three batters. Only four balls cleared the infield.
Manager Manny Acta said there were no close plays in the field, and the only thing that could have put a stop to perfection was a 19-minute power outage in the seventh inning.
Ireland said he didn't feel any different early on, but was aware he'd allowed no runs.