|Otterbein athletics photo|
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Otterbein baseball team commenced its annual spring-break trip in exciting fashion Thursday evening, throwing a combined no-hitter courtesy of four separate pitchers during a dominating 12-0 victory over Mitchell College. It is believed to be the first nine-inning no hitter in school history.
The Cardinals, improving to 2-0, received six hitless innings from All-OAC and All-Mideast Region starter Craig Prince out of the gate in which he fanned eight batters, walked three and hit two others across 91 total pitches.
Otterbein jumped all over the Mariners early, scoring seven runs in the first inning and never looking back from there. Mitchell, coming off a 29-13 campaign, is the preseason favorite in the New England Collegiate Conference and has won three of the past four league titles.
Freshman Ethan Doty looked strong in his first collegiate appearance, coming on for Prince in the sixth and sitting down five-straight hitters. He made two batters whiff and induced three groundouts, one that ricocheted off his shin and as he was forced to track it down before flipping to an outstretched Luke Barber at first.
Senior Jake Walters entered in the eighth to secure a massive out, facing Mitchell All-American second baseman Kyle Hartenstein in a situational lefty-lefty matchup. Walters got Hartenstein to chase a pair of sliders that culminated in a timely strikeout.
Junior Chris Sparks, a Youngstown State transfer, took the rubber in the ninth and persevered through a few nail-biting plays to culminate the memorable evening. A hard hit line drive from Mitchell's Garret Griffin, the 2017 NECC Player of the Year, was snagged by replacement right fielder Travis Grim to start the inning. Sparks then hustled to cover the bag on a slow roller to backup first baseman Chase Collins for the second out, followed by a groundout to shortstop to end the night.
At the moment, the only other no-hitters in program history are known to be from Don Dyson in 1975 and Jim McKee in 1969… both in seven-inning games.
Ben Beachy, Tyler Thompson and Bryan Stopar all had two-hit games for a Cardinal offense that drew 11 walks and held a 9-0 lead after the third frame.
Otterbein will be right back in action Friday afternoon, playing Babson College at noon before a rematch with Mitchell at 3:30 p.m. Babson was one game away from the College World Series last year, falling in the NCAA Harwich Regional Final.