AUBURN — Last summer, Gilberto Chu was a part of baseball history.
The reliever tossed three hitless innings to close out the second no-hitter of the day for the Gulf Coast League Nationals, as they topped the Marlins 4-0 and 1-0 on July 23.
Chu, who had two stints with the Doubledays last season, is hoping to be a reliable arm out of the bullpen for Auburn this season.
"I was pitching and I didn't know I was throwing a no-hitter," Chu said through a translator after practice at Falcon Park Wednesday. "That makes me feel good to be a part of a no-hitter, because that's my first time in professional (baseball)."
Former Doubledays pitcher Joan Baez tossed six innings in the first game and Jose Jiminez finished off the first half of the doubleheader. Jared Johnson began the second game and lasted four innings.
When Chu entered the contest, he concentrated on getting the ball over the plate.
"I was focused on one thing: throwing strikes and let the hitter make contact," Chu said. "I was pitching to contact, and not trying to strike people out."
Chu struck out four and had just one baserunner due to an error over three innings to finish off the twinbill. The two no-hitters were the first in the GCL last season.
Chu said there's lessons he can take from his time in the GCL.
"There's one thing I have to concentrate on that I think will help me, and that's letting the ball go consistently," Chu said.
Chu, who spent 2015 and 2016 in the Dominican Summer League, began last year in Auburn, but was assigned to the GCL in July. He returned to the Doubledays in late August and finished the season in Auburn.
Chu went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in seven appearances. Over 18 2/3 innings, he struck out 12 and allowed six walks, 18 hits and eight earned runs.
"He did a pretty good job, especially for how young he was, when he was up here and skipping rookie ball level at the beginning," Doubeldays manager Jerad Head said of the 20-year-old. "Chu is a left-handed pitcher that's going to rely on commanding the baseball and working down in the zone. He's had a pretty good extended spring training and is hoping to build on that."
This season, Chu may run into a familiar face in the opening series against the Batavia Muckdogs, which begins Friday at Falcon Park. He could go head-to-head against fellow pitcher Alberto Guerrero, who went to the same baseball academy in Panama and is listed the Muckdogs roster.
"If you go to one of those academies in Panama, it's because you must be good," Chu said. "They only have a few."
Chu's personal goal for this season is the same as his teammates. He wants to continue to climb the ladder in the Washington Nationals organization.
"My goal is to start strong and keep working hard, and not to finish here," Chu said. "I want to get to the next level."