TRENTON, NJ – After his last start on April 21, Thunder starter Ronald Herrera gathered with his teammates as they looked on in the clubhouse to watch Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta fire a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. On Tuesday night at ARM & HAMMER Park, Herrera along with reliever Jonathan Holder made history of their own by combining to throw the second nine-inning no-hitter in Thunder franchise history.
“I want to first thank God for allowing me to feel this way,” said Herrera. “During the offseason, I was very focused and I worked very hard and now it’s starting to pay off. I just need to continue to stay focused and do my job.”
The Yankees traded utility man Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres this past winter in exchange for the 20-year old Herrera. Since his acquisition, Herrera has made three starts for Trenton and has gone 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA..
After throwing 105 pitches over eight innings, the 20-year old Herrera was pulled by Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell in favor of Jonathan Holder in the ninth.
“We extended him beyond his limit a little bit ” explained Mitchell. “It was a tough decision, but it was the right decision.”
“There is no doubt that I would have loved to go back out for the ninth inning,” admitted Herrera. “But, I respect the decision that the staff made on it, and I understand that the decision was made with my future in mind.”
Mitchell had stated multiple times since the team broke camp and reported to Trenton in early April that Herrera had been the most impressive player that he had seen all spring. The skipper was left astonished by his historic performance on Tuesday.
“The guy is just amazing,” said Mitchell when describing Herrera’s outing. “He is just so cool under pressure at all times. He has proven already that he is a big-leaguer in the making.”
Mitchell added, “for a kid at 20-years old to mix pitches the way he does is really impressive.”
Staked to a 4-0 lead and a no-hitter hanging in the balance, the 22-year old Holder took the mound in the ninth with a little added pressure than he would find in an ordinary save situation.
“They called down to the pen and told me to get going,” said Holder. “I thought it was against the no-hitter rule, but I just stayed in tune with the game and when they told me I was in, I knew I had to do it for Herrera.”
After striking out leadoff hitter Jorge Flores, Holder snagged a comebacker to the mound that nearly snuck past him for the party crashing hit. He then struck out Jon Berti to cement the historic moment in Trenton Thunder history.
Herrera and Holder’s nine inning no-hitter is the first since Tyler Clippard fired the only other one in franchise history on August 17, 2006 at Harrisburg.