Nathan Moreau was nearly perfect in his first start for the Frederick Key in the Carolina League. Actually, his pitching was perfect.
The former Parkview High School and Georgia Bulldogs left-hander was perfect from the mound. The only Salem hitters to reach base Wednesday night did so because of two errors -- one of them committed by Moreau himself.
The 23-year-old pitcher had a memorable start for his new team in his first game after being promoted from Delmarva, tossing a no-hitter in Frederick's 7-0 victory at Salem, Va.
Moreau, an 11th-round draft choice by Baltimore in 2008, struck out six and walked none in pitching just the second complete-game nine-inning no-hitter in the Maryland team's history. The other was in 1991.
The no-hitter capped dramatically Moreau's six-week turnaround after starting the season in the bullpen at Delmarva. He was 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA in seven starts for the Shorebirds, holding South Atlantic League opponents to a .182 average.
"It's what I'd always done, so I feel much more comfortable starting," Moreau said recently. "Things were starting to come around a lit bit down there, but it's really nice to get back in the rotation. Starting is what I'm used to."
Moreau didn't join his new team until a few hours before the game. He was promoted from Delmarva while on a road trip in Charleston, W.Va., and caught a connecting flight to Roanoke, Va. He didn't arrive at the Salem ballpark until mid-afternoon.
The 6-foot-4 pitcher retired the first 16 batters and had a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning when Salem shortstop Ryan Dent tied to bunt his way on. Moreau threw the ball away for a two-base error. Dent moved to third on a fly ball, but was stranded there when Mitch Dening grounded out.
"I didn't get my body turned all the way and threw it wide," Moreau said after the game. "I knew about the no-hitter, so I think I was a little nervous about fielding the ball."
The only other runner to reach for Salem, a Boston farm team, came in the eighth inning when Key third baseman Buck Britton made an error with two outs. But Moreau got Dent to fly out to center fielder Xavier Avery, who earlier in the inning had made the catch of the game on Will Middlebrooks' drive to keep the no-hitter going.
Moreau had lost his last start for Delmarva, although he gave up just two runs on five hits in six innings on June 25. He struck out nine in that game, giving him 70 strikeouts in 601/3 innings with the Shorebirds.
Moreau was 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 20 starts for Delmarva last season after pitching for Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League when he signed with Baltimore in 2008 following Georgia's trip to the College World Series.