Mark Petkovsek Throws the First Nine-Inning No-Hitter in Tucson Toros History

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Colorado Springs Sky Sox0

May 16, 1994

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 1994 Fleer/ProCards Tucson Toros # 760 

Petkovsek Hurls No-Hitter

By Javier Morales
©The Arizona Daily Star

The crowd rose to its feet with two outs in the ninth inning and Tucson's Mark Petkovsek went into his windup, not only trying to get Webster Garrison out, but to record the first nine-inning no-hitter in Tucson Toros history.

"There is no way God can take take this away from him," Tucson manager Rick Sweet thought to himself. "You don't get that close ` and not get it. He may never get that close again. "

Garrison bounced a grounder to shortstop Frank Kellner, who threw to first baseman Lance Madsen to secure the no-hitter. The To- ros rushed the mound, and in the background, the scoreboard read:

Colorado Springs 000 000 000 - 0 0 0

Tucson won 5-0 in front of 5,473 fans, the largest crowd at Hi Corbett Field this year.

Television cameras surrounded Petkovsek, who had not thrown a no-hitter since he had a seven-inning no-no at the University of Texas in 1986. The man from the small town of Beaumont, Texas was a big star for a night.

The only previous no-hitter for the Toros was a six-inning job by Billy Smith against Van- couver in 1981. Roger Mason had a no-hitter through nine innings against Edmonton in 1989, but the Toros eventually lost in 11 innings.

- "I just kept on trying to do the same thing in the late innings and not think about it," said Petkovsek (pronounced Pet-KIZE-ick). "I car- ried on and didn't do anything really different. I talked with the guys in the dugout."

But it wasn't until Alan Cockrell flied out to the warning track in center field to end the eighth that Petkovsek felt really comfortable with the no-hitter.

"After that, I knew this would be my night," he said, smiling. "There was some good karma."

Center fielder Brian Hunter, who was standing next to Petkovsek, said incredulously, "Man, I thought that was going to hit the wall."

Not this night.

Petkovsek (5-2) recorded only three strike-outs, so a vast majority of the outs were made in the field. Tucson pitching coach Brent Strom went so far as to credit the Toros' groundskeepers.

"For some reason, they didn't cut the grass before today," Strom said, "and the high grass slowed a lot of grounders."


Most of the Colorado Springs players were not in a comical mood."I've never been on a team that was no-hit before, and it really (ticks) me off," said Colorado Springs' Chris Jones, a former Toro.

"We swung our bats, but we hit the ball right at people. "The umpires called an open zone, but they did that for both teams. And he just pitched a hell of a game."

Petkovsek, who walked two, faced only two batters over the minimum of 27. Vinnie Castilla walked with one out in the sec- Ond inning and former UA player Jason Bates grounded into a dou- ble play.

After Petkovsek walked Jones with two outs in the fourth, he retired 13 consecutive batters before Jim Taturn reached on a two-base error by third baseman Phil Nevin to lead off the ninth inning.

"Mark and I were in sync all night," said Tucson catcher Scooter Tucker. "If I moved out- side, he Would hit me right there, and if I moved inside, he was right there.

. "He also battled back from being down in the couple of times. That's a sign of a good pitcher."

Petkovsek, 29, threw 102 pitches and maintained a speed of about 87 mph on his fastball. After the game, he showed no signs of fatigue, just exhiliration.

"My mom and dad are going to get woken up tonight (in Beaumont)," said Petkovsek, who recorded one more hit than the Sky Sox by doubling in the seventh. "I'll have to savor this for a while."

Tucson (21 - 16) has won six consecutive games--it's longest streak this season--and the Toros now trail Colorado Springs (22 - 15) by one game in the Pacific Coast League Southern Division Standings. Tucson, which lost its first six games, has never been this close to first. The hot hitting of Dave Hajek and Mike Simms continued for the Toros, who were second in the PCL in team batting with a .296 average entering the game.

Hajek extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two. run single in the second inning off Colorado Springs starter Curtis Leskanic (2-4).Hajek went 2 for 3 last night. He` is hitting better than .450 in his streak. Simms, batting .321 after his 1 for 4 performance last night, highlighted a three-run rally in the fifth with a two-out double. It was his seventh double since joining the Toros on May 2.

Colorado Springs Sky Sox ABRHRBI

Trent Hubbard, LF 4 0 0 0
Webster Garrison, 2B 4 0 0 0
Chris C. Jones, CF 4 0 0 0
Ty Van Burkleo, 1B 2 0 0 0
Vinny Castilla, 3B 2 0 0 0
Jason Bates, SS 3 0 0 0
Alan Cockrell, RF 3 0 0 0
Jim Tatum, C 3 0 0 0
Curtis Leskanic, P 2 0 0 0
Kevin Meier, P 0 0 0 0
Stu Cole, PH 1 0 0 0

Colorado Springs totals27 0 0 0  
Tucson Toros ABRHRBI

Brian L Hunter, CF 4 1 1 1
Ken Ramos, LF 3 1 0 0
Mike Simms, LF 4 0 1 2
Lance Madsen, 1B 0 0 0 0
Scooter Tucker, C 3 0 0 0
Phil Nevin, 3B 4 1 2 0
Orlando Miller, SS 2 1 0 0
Frank Kellner, SS 1 0 0 0
Ray Montgomery, RF 3 0 0 0
Dave Hajek, 2B 3 1 2 2
Mark Petkovsek, P 3 0 2 0

Tucson totals30 5 7 5


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Colorado Springs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tucson 0 2 0 0 3 0 0 0 x 5 7 1

E- Nevin
DP- Tucson 1
LOB- Colorado Springs 2 Tucson 4
2B - Petkovsek, Hajek, Hunter, Simms

Colorado Springs IPHRERBBK

Curtis Leskanic (L, 2- 4) 6 5 5 5 2 3
Kevin Meier 2 2 0 0 1 1


Mark Petkovsek (W, 5 - 2) 9 0 0 0 2 3


Time - 2:01
Attendance - 5,473

Beyond what Mr. Morales tells us about Petkovsek's no-no, his nonpareil game vs. the Sky Sox was also the first nine-inning no-hitter thrown in over 41 years of professional baseball history in Tucson. Prior to Petkovsek's effort, the last nine-inning no-hitter thrown by someone paid to wear a Tucson uniform was by someone named George Aitken, on June 13, 1953. Aitken pitched that day for a team called the Tucson Cowboys, in the shortly-to-be-defunct Class C Arizona-Texas League, and he defeated a team called the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings by the score of 13 - 2.

Petkovsek also became only the second AAA pitcher in the history of the Astros system to record a nine-inning no-hitter. Previously, only Gerald Nelson, on August 23, 1963 had managed to twirl a nine-inning no-no at the penultimate step of the professional ladder. The last no-hitter of any sort by an Astros' AAA pitcher was authored by Oklahoma City '89er Oscar Zamora, on September 2, 1972.

Petkovsek posted an 88 Game Score for the game, which is towards the middle of the pack when the no-hitters chronicled here at Astroland are ranked. Petkovsek's score of 88 is one point lower than the next no-hitter that would be thrown by a AAA pitcher in the organization: when Brian Powell went on to throw his no-hitter for the New Orleans Zephyrs on May 6, 2001, he posted a Game Score of 89.

Source: Arizona Daily Star, May 17, 1994

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