RCC product pitches minor league no-hitter

Mississippi Braves right-hander Thomas Hanson didn’t exactly get off to a good start in his outing Wednesday against the Birmingham Barons.

Hanson, a graduate of Redlands East Valley High School and Riverside Community College, issued two walks, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in the first inning. But he regrouped quite nicely. In fact Hanson ended up throwing the first no-hitter in the history of the Double-A Southern League franchise, striking out a career-high 14 in a 6-0 victory.

“I felt really good in the bullpen warming up,” he said. “I was pumped, maybe a little too pumped. I just tried to calm myself down and just attack the strike zone the way I normally do.”

Hanson, 21, said it was his first no-hitter since Little League. He came close last year at Low-A Rome where he had a no-hitter broken up in the seventh.

A more casual approach this time helped.

“I tried not to think about it as much,” he said. “It is hard not to think about it. last year I kept sitting there thinking `I hope they don’t get a hit.’ This time I just tried to focus on what I had to do to get guys out.”

Hanson said Birmingham, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, had two hard hit balls, one coming on the last out of the game when Ricardo Nanita lined out to centerfielder Jordan Shafer.

“He got good wood on it. Squared up pretty good,” he said. “Fortunately it was right at someone.”

With the win Hanson improved to 4-3 on the season with a 4.32 earned run average in nine starts. He has 49 strikeouts in 50 innings. Take out one bad outing in which he allowed eight earned runs and his ERA is a nifty 3.02.

Hanson, a 22nd round draft pick, started the season with the Braves affiliate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., of the High-A Carolina League but earned a promotion after going 3-1 with 49 strikeouts in 40 innings and an 0.90 ERA in seven starts there.