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Dunedin quartet team up for no-hitter

Churchill slams the door on the game, first week in pro ball
From left to right: Ian Churchill, Kendry Rojas, Cooper Benson and Sam Ryan combined to toss Dunedin's third no-no since 2021. (Dunedin Blue Jays)
@Jacob_Resnick
August 14, 2022

Ian Churchill concluded his first week in professional baseball with an achievement most players never get to claim. Churchill, Toronto's 10th-round pick in last month’s Draft, tossed a perfect ninth inning on Sunday to secure a combined no-hitter for Single-A Dunedin, who beat the Tampa, 5-0.

Ian Churchill concluded his first week in professional baseball with an achievement most players never get to claim.

Churchill, Toronto's 10th-round pick in last month’s Draft, tossed a perfect ninth inning on Sunday to secure a combined no-hitter for Single-A Dunedin, who beat the Tampa, 5-0.

Overall, it was a four-pitcher effort for the Florida State League club. Starter Kendry Rojas worked the first two innings before giving way to Cooper Benson, who did the bulk of the work with four solid frames. Sam Ryan went six up, six down in the seventh and eighth before Churchill, making just his second appearance since joining the team, slammed the door.

Rojas made his return to the Single-A level after spending nearly three months on the injured list. Before the unspecified ailment, the 19-year-old left-hander pitched to a 4.82 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 28 innings. He needed just one rehab outing in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League before rejoining Dunedin, though his two innings and 27 pitches could be deemed an extension of his tune-up.

Benson continued his excellent run since making his professional debut in the FCL in June before joining Dunedin in July. Drafted in the 17th round from Arizona State last summer during his rehab from Tommy John surgery, the southpaw took a 1.93 ERA through 32 innings between the two affiliates and lowered that further with his work against the Tarpons.

Ryan and Churchill combined for three perfect innings to cap the no-no. The defense behind them was busy throughout the game, as the pitchers tallied just six strikeouts.

The Dunedin gem was the third in the FSL this season and third by the team since the start of last year. In 2021, Blue Jays pitcher Trent Palmer tossed a pair of seven-inning no-hitters, one in August and one in September. Prior to a three-pitcher effort in 2016, Dunedin had not thrown a combined no-hitter since 1988.

Jacob Resnick is an contributor for MiLB.com.