The third week of the college baseball season is now in the rear view mirror, and I think we can all agree that the runaway winner of the weekend was poor weather. Never has their been a more dominating performance in the history of the game than what we saw from Mother Nature.
However, there was enough baseball played for there to be another good crop of under-the-radar performances this weekend.
Army’s Alex Robinett No-Hits Longwood
Navy’s Luke Gillingham has been the gold standard so far this season for pitchers at service academies, but Army’s Alex Robinett put himself on the map Saturday when he tossed a no-hitter against Longwood.
The senior from Bend, Oregon, threw 121 pitches, walked four, and struck out 10. In Robinett’s two starts this season, he has thrown 15 innings and given up just two hits. That’s good for a miniscule .044 opponent’s batting average.
Wright State’s Ryan Fucci Fuels Upset Bid
For the second straight weekend, the Wright State Raiders struck fear in the heart of their major conference opponent. Last week, it was Mississippi. This week, it was the Miami Hurricanes. The Raiders lost a pair of one-run games, 8-7 on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday, before breaking through and getting a win on Sunday 12-6.
In their bid for an upset on Friday night, WSU right fielder Ryan Fucci did his part, going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, a home run, and four RBI. That’s an example of a guy coming up big when it matters most.
Ball State’s Scott Baker Duels Illinois’ Kevin Duchene
In the team’s 1-0 win over Ball State on Friday afternoon, some attention was paid to the return of the Illini’s Kevin Duchene, and understandably so. After all, Duchene was an ace for Illinois in 2013 before missing much of last season with an injury and missing his first two starts this season thanks to a suspension. He did not disappoint, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing five hits with no walks and nine strikeouts.
Ball State’s Scott Baker, Duchene’s mound adversary on that day, nearly matched him. He threw eight innings, giving up four hits and one run with one walk and nine strikeouts. In his three starts this season, Baker is 1-2 with a 2.33 ERA and a .219 batting average against him.
Nevada’s Jason Deitrich Dazzles Against Pacific
Nevada has been one of the biggest surprises in college baseball to this point, as they have gotten off to a torrid start. A lot of that has been due to a powerful offense led by preseason All-American Austin Byler, along with Ryan Howell and Trenton Brooks. But in their 5-1 win over Pacific on Friday night, it was all about starting pitcher Jason Deitrich.
The lanky righty threw a complete game, allowing five hits and one run with three walks and eight strikeouts. Through three starts, Deitrich is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA.
Western Illinois Strikes Out 17 in Loss
Western Illinois’ 4-3 loss against Oklahoma State on Friday dropped the Leathernecks to 0-4 on the season. This particular loss, however, came with some highlights. More specifically, it came with 17 of them, as three WIU pitchers combined to fan 17 Cowboys hitters. This feat is even more impressive when you consider that their pitchers only threw eight innings, as OSU did not need to hit in the bottom of the ninth.
It started with starting pitcher Joe Mortillaro, who struck out nine batters in his five innings of work. Reliever J.T. Baksha got all four of his outs via strikeout. Lastly, Nick Milligan got four of his five outs via strikeout. With all of those long counts (WIU pitchers also walked six), it’s no surprise that it took the trio 180 pitches to get through those eight innings.
UAB Pitches Past Ohio State
The UAB Blazers have gotten off to an 8-2 start, and this weekend, they completed a quality series win over Ohio State at home. In their wins over the Buckeyes in a Saturday doubleheder, the Blazers’ pitching led the way.
In game one, UAB starting pitcher Alex Luna threw 8.1 innings, giving up three hits and two runs with two walks and four strikeouts. Reliever Cory Eller came in and recorded the final two outs in UAB’s 3-2 win.
In game two, starter James Naile threw 7.1 innings, giving up four hits and one run with four walks and six strikeouts. Ryan Ruggles and Adam Lau combined to throw 1.2 innings of perfect relief to close out the 8-1 win.
It’s unclear if any team will truly be able to compete with Rice in Conference USA, but if they can continue to get pitching like this, UAB could be as well-equipped as anyone to do so.
Lehigh No-Hits Iona
On Saturday, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks no-hit the Iona Gaels in the team’s 2-0 win. This was no ordinary no-hitter, however. This was an extra-inning no-hitter, as Lehigh held their opposition hitless in 11 innings of play.
Starter Nick Macaione got it starte, throwing the first nine innings, allowing just one walk to go along with four strikeouts. Once he bowed out, reliever Kevin Boswick came in and threw two more hitless innings, giving his team a chance to come away with the walk-off win in the bottom of the 11th.
Lost in this story is the performance of Iona’s Mariano Rivera, Jr. He threw seven innings, giving up three hits with just one walk and 13 strikeouts.