Just over a month ago, Sean Boyle was part of the first-ever combined no-hitter in Hudson Valley Renegades history. On Thursday night, he accomplished the feat himself two levels higher.
Yankees prospect Boyle tossed the second no-hitter of the season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, striking out six and walking one while giving his team a split of a doubleheader at Worcester via a 5-0 win in the seven-inning nightcap.
“It’s leaving me a little bit more at a loss for words, processing it after it happened,” Boyle said after his historic night, which came after Worcester's 5-3 win in the opener. “In the moment, I looked at the scoreboard pretty early and in the third and was like, ‘Alright. I like not giving up hits. Let’s keep this going.'”
Promoted from High-A to Triple-A on Aug. 7, Boyle made his first start for the RailRiders on Thursday. After tossing 66 pitches on Aug. 12 -- his most in a professional game -- the usual reliever didn’t know what his limit would be in his start.
“The organization does a good job not letting guys overextend and stuff like that,” he said. “Not that I was worried about that, but I was like, hey, it is what it is. I’m here filling in to help out this team. There’s been a lot of action of late, so to be here is awesome. Then to go out and have success, that makes it that much better.
“I’m just enjoying every opportunity and trying to make the most of it.”
His start was certainly that. Boyle faced just two batters over the minimum despite not having a sterling pregame bullpen session.
“My pitch is my slider,” he said. “I wasn’t throwing it for a strike, and it didn’t have the break I wanted, but no sweat. You’re going to be lucky to have your best stuff three times a year. You’re going to be lucky to have everything working once in a season. This was just an example of one of those days you’ve just got to go out and compete and find a way.”
Boyle issued his only walk with two outs in the first, then retired 14 straight. After hitting Worcester’s Jeremy Rivera with a pitch in the sixth, he set down the final five men he faced.
“I was just doing my best to pick apart these hitters with [pitching coach Dustin Glant] and my catcher [Max McDowell],” the Dallas Baptist product said. “We were just mixing it up the whole time.”
Boyle finished his night with 95 pitches, 59 for strikes, and dropped his Triple-A ERA to 0.59 through 15 1/3 innings. Not bad for a former 25th-rounder from Long Island.
“From Dallas to get plucked back into New York and have that connection, that’s really cool,” said Boyle, who didn’t even make his high school baseball team until his sophomore year. “It’s something I never expected -- I wanted it -- but it’s super cool to do it for where you’re from.”
The righty’s no-no came just over five weeks after he combined with Nick Ernst and Derek Craft on a no-no for Hudson Valley against Brooklyn. Boyle threw the first four innings of that likewise seven-inning game.
“That’s one of those moments where everybody’s smiling ear to ear because you guys did it together,” he said of the July 10 milestone. "I’m not saying I didn’t do it with the help of my teammates tonight, but it was a different feeling, like, let’s make this happen [solo]. Let’s do it.”
Boyle isn’t sure how long his time in Triple-A will last, but if his early success is any indication, he could be around for a while.
“These hitters are good, but you can’t give them too much credit,” he said. “Like my buddy [RailRiders catcher Rob Brantly] said, you’re never that far away. You’re not as far as you think you are.”
This season’s success -- Boyle is now 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA in 20 games (seven starts) between Low-A Tampa, Hudson Valley and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- stems in part from a piece of advice the 24-year-old got from fellow DBU alumnus Ben Zobrist: do what you do well.
“Before this season, I was trying to throw seven different pitches,” he said. "The past two months now, I just narrowed it down to four pitches.
“I know my thing is strikes and my thing is a slider. Let’s build on that. Do what you do well.”