(CHATTANOOGA) - David Welch won't forget his 25th birthday.
In the 2nd game of Monday night's game at Chattanooga, Welch threw the 4th no-hitter in Stars history, to lead Huntsville to a much-needed 2-0 win and a doubleheader split with the Lookouts, Monday night at AT&T Field.
By splitting the twin-bill, the Stars (35-23) opened up a one-game lead over the Diamond Jaxx and a 3-game edge on the Carolina Mudcats with 12 games left in the 1st half.
Tanyon Sturtze pitched the only other solo no-hit effort for the Stars on June 1993 against the Lookouts, beating the Stars' current pitching coach, Chris Hook.
Last year, three Huntsville hurlers, Corey Thurman, David Johnson, and Luis Pena, combined to pitch the Stars' first no-hitter at Joe Davis Stadium in Game Two of the Northern Division playoffs vs. Tennessee.
Welch retired the first 17 batters he faced before pinch-hitter Chris Valaika drew a walk with two out in the 6th. He advanced to second base on an errant pickoff attempt by catcher Carlos Corporan before Cody Strait flied out to end the inning.
Eric Eymann drew a leadoff walk in the Welch's final inning, but was saved from further trouble when Sean Henry hit into a double play on the next pitch. Danny Dorn struck out on a 2-2 pitch that Corporan had to complete by throwing to first for the final out.
Welch needed only 67 pitches to complete the no-hitter and earn his league-best 7th win. He struck out 6.
Welch has thrown 13 scoreless innings in two starts on the road trip.
The Sydney, Australia native had taken no-hit bids deep into ballgames before. With Class A - Brevard County (FSL) on July 26th of last year, he took a perfect game into the 8th. He also pitched five hitless innings on April 28, 2007.
Matt LaPorta's leadoff home run off starter Travis Wood (1-1) in the 4th, his league-best 15th of the season, broke up a scoreless game in the 4th.
Welch scored the Stars' 2nd run in the 7th off Sean Watson, making his debut for the Lookouts, when he walked Cole Gillespie with the bases loaded.
Chattanooga won the opener, coming from behind, 6-4, to score 4 runs in the 6th inning.
Shaun Cumberland led off and reached on a fielding error by Alcides Escobar and advanced to second on a single by Eymann, who went 4-for-4. Valaika then doubled to left after missing two sac bunt attempts, scoring both runners to tie the game at 6-6. Escobar then committed his second error of the inning on a Cody Strait grounder that allowed Valaika to score the go-ahead run.
Strait then stole second and scored on B.J. Szymanski's 2-out single to give the Lookouts an 8-6 lead.
Patrick Ryan (1-1), who had allowed only 2 runs all year in 25 1/3 innings, was tagged with the loss after giving up 4 runs (one earned) on 3 hits.
Tuesday night, Brae Wright (3-5), who has given up just 2 runs in 15 innings over his last two starts, gets the start for Huntsville against Chattanooga right-hander James Avery (2-2).