Acquiring as much talent as possible is the Orioles' primary goal in the midst of their rebuild, and the team may have found a diamond in the rough in right-hander Jake Lyons, a starter for Short Season A-Aberdeen.
Lyons, a 22nd-round pick out of Oklahoma State this year, was the driving force behind a combined no-hitter thrown by the IronBirds against the Vermont Lake Monsters Aug. 12. He threw the first five innings of the no-hitter, striking out five batters with just one walk. Lyons was followed up by right-handers James Ryan, who pitched the next three innings, and Kyle Martin, who threw the ninth. It was the first no-hitter in IronBirds history.
As a competitor, Lyons wanted to try to finish off the no-hitter himself, but he is on a pitch count and understood the decision.
"I came out in the fifth inning feeling good and I kind of looked over to our pitching coach, Robbie [Aviles], and saw that he was on the phone. Whenever you're pitching you know what that means: that means they are calling for the bullpen to get someone hot," Lyons said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Aug. 13. "There was a little sadness when I saw that because I obviously want to go out there and finish it out myself, but it was also good to have James Ryan and Kyle Martin right after me to close the deal."
Lyons is 1-3 on the season with a 3.27 ERA in 22 innings for the IronBirds. This spring at Oklahoma State, Lyons pitched to a 4.89 ERA in 49.2 innings while making 18 appearances as a reliever and two as a starter.
Lyons had never been a part of a no-hitter before this but was more than happy to let Martin, who closed out the game, keep the ball from the final out.
"It definitely was a lot more nerve-racking out there watching it at the end rather than watching me pitch. Whenever I was pitching, you look up there and you see it, you're trying to go for it. I tried to put it in the back of my mind and really wasn't thinking about it," Lyons said. "Once I got out and kind of knew what was going on, I was like, 'Wow, it's getting kind of crazy.' Then I went down to the bullpen for the last two innings, and that's when everyone down there was shaking. Thankfully, it happened."
Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, was behind the plate for the no-hitter, and Lyons credited him for being a big part of his success. Rutschman, the 2019 Golden Spikes Award winner, developed a reputation at Oregon State for working well with pitchers, something that's carried over to pro ball.
"I'm very comfortable with Adley," Lyons said. "We got together with the pitching coach, and [Rutschman] kind of knew what I wanted to throw and went over [the opposing] batters and what they didn't like to hit. He was really awesome behind the plate. Having him out there is a pleasure."
With the excitement regarding Rutschman and the Orioles' 2019 draft picks, the attendance at IronBirds home games has been impressive recently, and Lyons says he appreciates the support from all the fans.
"Coming from Oklahoma State and having crowds out there almost every single game and staying in the same kind of atmosphere at the minor-league level, it's just great," Lyons said. "Playing behind a good crowd helps you play a little bit better."
Photo Credit: Kelley Dentry/Aberdeen IronBirds
To hear more from Lyons, listen to the full interview here: