SAUGET — With lightning bolts flashing in the distance, Gateway Grizzlies pitcher Tim Brown responded with some electric stuff Saturday at GCS Ballpark.
The ace of the Grizzlies staff, Brown pitched the third no-hitter in franchise history, leading Gateway to a 9-0 victory over the Lake Erie Crushers.
"I guess it's always in the back of your mind the entire game. But to have it come true. ... It's just unbelievable. I'm really almost speechless right now,'' said Brown, who was soaking wet and had shaving cream dripping from the bill of his cap following a wild postgame celebration. "The defense made the plays, and to be able to accomplish this is really special.''
Gateway (33-20) led 5-0 after 7 1/2 innings, then sent eight men to the plate in a lengthy bottom of the eighth, which was capped by a grand slam from Antone DeJesus.
The Grizzlies made two errors in the top of the ninth, but when Brown got Andrew Hidalgo to ground out to shortstop Vladimir Frias for the final out, he was mobbed by his teammates.
The last Grizzlies' no-hitter came when Eric Ridener and Zack Gray combined for one on Aug. 9, 2008 at Kalamazoo.
Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said Brown was in control throughout.
"Tim was on top of his game. He got ahead of the hitters and it was ground ball after ground ball. The defense made the plays behind him,'' Warren said. "It was just a great effort by Tim.''
Offensively, DeJesus had a two-run home run in the second inning, to go with his grand slam, while Jet Butler, Jon Myers and Alex Guthrie all hit solo shots, but it was Brown (8-2), who provided the drama for the 3,709 fans.
The Grizzlies, who managed just three hits in the first eight innings and finished with just six in all in a 3-2 setback Friday, got their bats going early Saturday against Crushers left-hander Dave Middendorf.
Middendorf (7-5) retired the side in order in the first inning, but Grizzlies catcher Landon Hernandez singled to lead off the second.
Middendorf got Butler to roll into a double play, but Jon Myers followed with a line-drive single to left field.
DeJesus then hit a 2-1 pitch well over the low fence in right-center, giving the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead.
Two innings later, Myers increased Gateway's lead, taking a 3-1 pitch out for a home run and a 3-0 advantage.
Brown, a Clayton High School graduate, was rolling along, retiring the first 14 Crushers hitters with ease.
Of the first 14 batters the 26-year-old St. Louis resident faced, only one hit the ball out of the infield. Brown had 10 ground ball outs and fanned three in the early going.
He would finish with four strikeouts and two walks
Brown lost his bid for perfection when he walked Russell Moldenhauer on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the fifth inning.
Two pitches later, Crushers catcher Emmanuel Quiles drilled a Brown pitch that was caught at the wall by left fielder Jon Myers.
The Grizzlies-Crushers series concludes Sunday with a 6:05 p.m. first pitch. ... Gateway will then take to the road beginning Monday to begin a six-game, six-day trip. The Grizzlies will play three at Windy City before beginning a three-game series at Schaumburg on Thursday. The Grizzlies held a 2 1/2 game lead over Schaumburg in the Frontier League's West Division heading into play on Saturday.