St. John's Noack no hits UW-La Crosse

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Nick Noack's no hitter was the third of the 2017 D-III season. photo by Ryan Coleman

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - No. 29 Saint John's baseball opened its 2017 season with a doubleheader split against No. 3 Wisconsin-La Crosse, a rematch of the 2016 region final, in a late-night doubleheader (9:45 p.m. start) on Sunday, Feb. 26, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Junior pitcher Nick Noack (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake) started the season with a bang, hurling a seven-inning no-hitter in game one's 1-0 win, his second career start. He struck out seven and totaled 71 pitches against a La Crosse team that advanced to the NCAA Division III World Series, batted .370 and scored 452 runs in 49 games a year ago.

The no-hitter was the Johnnies' first since April 21, 2011 (Hayden Zimmerman '12 vs. Saint Mary's).

SJU scored its lone run of the game in the top of the second inning. Junior Jeron Terres (Cold Spring, Minn./Rocori) singled on an infield chopper to start the inning, stole second and scored on a two-out, RBI single from sophomore Thomas Meland (Northfield, Minn.). The pair collected two hits apiece in the victory. 

Caleb Boushley, a 2016 All-American, was saddled with the loss for La Crosse. He went 10-1, with his lone loss occurring in the World Series, and posted a 2.20 ERA in 94 innings pitched last season.

Since game one lasted only 1:33, both teams agreed that game two would consist of nine innings instead of the originally-scheduled seven. The Eagles erupted for 14 hits, nine of which came after the sixth inning, in a 6-0 win. Thirteen of the 14 hits came from four players.

Senior Alex Kendall (St. Cloud, Minn./Saint John's Prep) suffered the loss, allowing an unearned run on two hits, while striking out four, in four innings of work. The game ended at 2:26 a.m. Monday morning.

The stat of the night? Although each team recorded a hit batsmen, neither squad walked a batter in the combined 32 innings pitched.

The Johnnies return to U.S. Bank Stadium for a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader against NAIA Valley City State (N.D.) on Wednesday, March 1.