By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The last Everett AquaSox starting pitcher who tossed five no-hit innings just weeks after being drafted was Doug Fister.
Can Tyler Olson follow Fister’s footsteps to the majors?
Olson didn’t factor into the decision Saturday night. However, that didn’t diminish what he accomplished in just his second career professional start, as he threw five no-hit innings in Everett’s 7-1 loss to the Hillsboro Hops.
“It was a blast,” Olson said about the outing. “I just kind of went out there with the plan of throwing strikes and getting ahead. The first two innings I kind of settled in, (catcher Carlton) Tanabe and I got not he same page for pitches, and it just kind of rolled from there.”
The 23-year-old left-hander, who was the Seattle Mariners’ seventh-round pick in this year’s draft out of Gonzaga University, was the picture of efficiency Saturday. The first batter of the game, Taylor Ratliff, reached on an error. Olson allowed just one more baserunner the rest of his appearance, a walk to Ty Linton leading off the fifth, and Linton was erased by a double play. Olson finished with three strikeouts.
“It was just getting ahead,” Olson said about the key to the performance. “My fastball was working well early in the count, and off that I was able to throw the off-speed pitches, stay ahead and keep batters off balance.”
Olson’s outing was eerily reminiscent of Fister when he pitched for Everett in 2006. Fister, who’s now a standout major leaguer with the Detroit Tigers, was also a college pitcher who had just been drafted in the seventh-round by the Mariners and was getting his first taste of professional baseball with the Sox. In his first pro start, Fister also threw five no-hit innings, only to be lifted because of a strict pitch limit. Just like in Olson’s start, Fister departed with a 1-0 lead. And just like in Olson’s start, Fister ended up with a no-decision as the bullpen collapsed.
Olson, who was limited to three innings in his first start, needed just 65 pitches to get through his five innings Saturday, and he said he could have continued. However, he also said he understood why he was removed.
“I was wanting to (stay in), but at the same time (pitching coach Rich Dorman) pulled me and said, ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint.’ I hadn’t thrown for three weeks before I got here, so the first outing I was on a pitch count as well,” Olson said. “I understand it. Obviously you want to stay in, but at the same time health is more important than going out there and throwing seven innings.”