Two outs from a Perfect Game in Fort Wayne

Despite frigid temperatures, left-hander Nathan Culp started something that has never happened before in Fort Wayne – helped bring a perfect game into the ninth inning. talked to Culp after the game.

It took just 47 pitches – 34 strikes and 13 balls – to burn through six innings.

Culp faced one 2-0 count on the night and one 2-1 count.

One out into the ninth, the perfect game and no-hitter was broken up.

The Wizards had never taken a perfect game into the ninth inning before and counting Monday it is the third time that they have taken a no-hitter into the ninth inning. On May 20, 2005, Raul Padron of Kane County was credited with a one-out single in the top of the ninth inning off relief pitcher Matt Varner on a ball that most observers felt was an error committed by second baseman Sean Kazmar. On May 27, 2003, Brian Whitaker took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Wisconsin, but gave up a one-out single to Dustin Delucchi before being replaced on the mound, in a 2-0 Wizard win.

There have been two one-hit complete games thrown by a Wizard pitcher (a five-inning performance by Keith Linebarger on 5/22/93, when the Wizards defeated Clinton by a score of 2-0, and a nine-inning performance by Tom Mott on 5/24/95, a game Fort Wayne won over Wisconsin by a score of 2-1).

You get a late start to the season – did you get a chance to throw before Monday's contest?

Nathan Culp: I was able to get up on the mound a couple of times this week and throw some bullpens, even though it was freezing cold, and I mostly threw just fastballs and that is what I threw tonight. I was able to get up a couple of times and that helped.

Your pitch count was unbelievably low – were you surprised that Dascenzo took you out of the game?

Nathan Culp: Actually, I wasn't sure they were going to let me go back out in the sixth. I hadn't ‘thrown' in like ten days and it was so cold – I think it was 25 degrees out. I think as a starter right now you just hope you get through five innings and my pitch count was low enough I was able to go six. That was just a bonus.

What worked in your favor had to be the aggressiveness of the Great Lakes hitters swinging early in the count.

Nathan Culp: That is why I threw mostly fastballs because I was able to locate it pretty well down in the zone. When you have an aggressive team like that and you are able to keep it down there is not a whole lot they can do with it. They hit a lot of ground balls and hit them early in the count.

Could you feel the buzz pick up as the game moved along with a perfect game in sight?

Nathan Culp: I don't know. Everyone knows when that stuff is going on. You don't do anything different whether you have a perfect game or otherwise. You still try and get that guy out. Whatever happens, happens. Everyone knows what is going on.

It had to be a great start to the year for the pitching staff and I am sure your guys will take that one hit and 1-0 games all year long.

Nathan Culp: You know it is going to be a low scoring game when the weather is like that. (Kyler) Burke hit that ball pretty good so it is pretty exciting to see him put a good swing on it. And that is all we thought we were going to need the way all our pitchers were so excited to get out there. We hadn't thrown in ten days so everyone wanted to get out there on the mound and everyone threw well.

Special thanks to Fort Wayne Wizards broadcaster Mike Maahs for the franchise history regarding no-hitters and perfect games.

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