LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Zach Miner said earlier this week he fully anticipated Georgia Tech picking up a few hits off him and the other four Braves pitchers expected to throw in the team's first spring game of 2005 - even if they were facing a collegiate team.
Turns out he was incorrect.
The quintet of Atlanta arms combined Wednesday for a no-hitter to open the spring exhibition season, beating college baseball's 13th-ranked team 12-0 before an announced crowd of 3,682 at Disney's Cracker Jack Stadium.
Miner, who spent last year at Class AA Greenville, went the first two innings. As planned, he was followed by a bevy of relatively unknown - but ultimately successful - pitchers.
Daniel Curtis, Macay McBride and Anthony Lerew threw two innings each, and Kevin Barry closed out the ninth.
"It's a good feeling to start it off with that, no matter who you're facing." McBride said.
Highlights of the University of Miami's Tuesday upset of the Florida Marlins played in the Braves' clubhouse all day Wednesday.
McBride said the team saw them, and they weren't too interested in becoming another embarrassing spring training footnote - even if Miami and Georgia Tech are two of the better college programs going.
"(Pitching coach) Leo Mazzone was joking around with us earlier, saying, 'Now, you know we've never lost to a college team. We're not starting today,' " McBride said.
The Braves, who open Grapefruit League games today against the Dodgers in Vero Beach, Fla., have now won all 19 meetings with Georgia and Georgia Tech in the alternating college series.
Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said he sensed it was tough for his team - which is made up of many Atlanta-area players - to swallow a sort of star-struck feeling lining up against the Braves.
"It was hard to keep from pulling for them," said designated hitter Jeff Kindel, who grew up in Marietta, Ga., and carried a disposable camera around before the game while the Braves were taking batting practice.
"I was kind of rooting for Andruw and Chipper (Jones) to get a hit. I didn't expect them to get 19 as a team.
Five of the hits came in the four-run second inning that got the Braves going.
Chipper Jones whacked a home run to right-center in the third. That homer was followed three batters later by a Raul Mondesi's wind-aided shot over the left-center field wall.
It was Mondesi's debut with the Braves.
Reach Travis Haney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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