By Gus Martin
Orioles pitching prospect and Double-A Bowie right-hander Michael Baumann threw a no-hitter against the Harrisburg Senators July 16, which marked his first nine-inning complete game as a pro and capped off his team’s 31st win since the start of June.
Baumann, 23, joined a red-hot Baysox team in late June after beginning the season with High-A Frederick, where he posted a 3.83 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 54 innings.
Baumann, Baltimore’s third-round pick in 2017 out of Jacksonville University (Fla.), has found even more success at Double-A. He’s 2-1 with a 0.33 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 27 innings with Bowie. He struck out 10 and walked two during his no-hitter against the Senators.
Baumann said the longest he ever went without letting up a hit prior to July 16 was about six innings.
“I don’t even know if I’ve ever pitched into the ninth, so just to be in that kind of situation was pretty awesome,” Baumann said on Glenn Clark Radio July 17. “I actually walked the first guy of the game and I was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go,’ and then I was able to settle down … and after that it felt like everything was cruising by.”
Baumann said he didn’t start to notice a no-hitter was within reach until late in the game and that none of his teammates were talking to him in an effort to not throw off his rhythm. However, his pitching coach Kennie Steenstra made sure he stayed locked into his mechanics and remained focused.
“I was a little superstitious. After the seventh inning it started to be kind of real in my head. I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is actually possible right now,’ so I’d go back to the dugout, throw my piece of gum in, get my Gatorade,” he said. “It felt like going back out for the eighth took forever and then again in the ninth. I didn’t think it was ever going to come.”
Baumann is part of an improving Orioles farm system, one of the highlights of which is the pitching talent percolating in Bowie. Left-handed starters Zac Lowther, Bruce Zimmermann and Alex Wells all sport sub-3.00 ERAs.
The Baysox began the season 7-23 but are now 50-44 overall and sit in first place in the Eastern League’s Western division second-half standings at 20-6. Bowie is 31-10 since June 1. Baumann attributes part of his success with the squad to the great chemistry of the clubhouse.
“There’s a lot of good players in this clubhouse. They’re fun to watch, a lot of talent. Guys just seem to be meshing well right now, showing up to the field everyday excited to go. I just think we’re all just riding the momentum,” Baumann said. “There’s a lot of hope. There’s a lot of guys rooting for each other, pulling for each other and at the same time helping each other out. We’re just all kind of learning from each other and enjoying seeing how our friends do on the field.”
Baumann knows that his improvement from High-A to Double-A is unique and can’t be expected as he continues his career and hopefully moves up the ladder. But in the meantime, he says he’ll try to stick to his routine and compete as best he can.
As for mementos from his memorable night, Baumann said he got a ball, lineup card and will be getting the rubber from the mound with help from the grounds crew at Prince George’s Stadium.
“At the same time, though, it’s one of those things you enjoy it for the moment and then you wake up the next morning then you’re onto the next start,” Baumann said. “I’m just trying to focus on the next start and see where it takes me.”
To hear more from Baumann, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Bill Vaughan/Bowie Baysox