|Braden Johnson's no-hitter
was the first nine-inning no-hitter in the history of
Transylania athletics photo
DEFIANCE, Ohio - Freshman Braden Johnson's nine inning no-hitter
snagged the Pioneers a series-clenching victory and the first
no-hitter in the era of Transylvania baseball, on the way to a
sweep of the Defiance Yellow Jackets Sunday.
Johnson's no-hitter was the first nine-inning no-hitter in the history of Pioneers baseball, dating back to 1996, and first in the Heartland Conference since Zach Grove threw a no-no against Mount St. Joseph in 2005.
Johnson faced 28 batters and recorded five strikeouts in 84 pitches in the 12-0 victory. "My stuff felt great and the defense played awesome behind me," said Johnson. "It was a lot of fun."
Head Coach Chris Campbell knew it was going to be a good day for his right-hander, as he mowed down 12 batters in order through the fourth inning with what seemed to be little effort.
"Braden had complete command of all his pitches," said Head Coach Chris Campbell. "He really dominated the bottom part of the strike zone and let his defense work for him."
The offense also pulled their weight early, sending four runs across the plate in the first inning.
Lead-off hitter Zach Bynum reached base on a hit-by-pitch by Defiance's Darin Waterman and advanced to third after a single by right fielder Trey Simpson. Nick Edwards' sacrifice fly notched the first run and RBI of the day followed by senior first baseman Kameron Mason who singled to right field, notching a second run with one out.
Designated hitter Pete Travisano's hit by pitch put two on with one out as Kody Ross approached the plate. A groundout advanced Travisano and Mason to second and third. A clutch double by catcher Sam Liggett plated two more, putting the Pioneers up 4-0 over the Yellow Jackets.
Transylvania's bats were silenced until the Pioneers sparked a seven-run fifth inning, forcing Defiance to utilize three pitchers before recording the third out. The explosive hitting sent the Pioneers into the bottom of the fifth with an 11-0 advantage.
The fifth inning saw the first Yellow Jacket snag a base on a fielding error by the third baseman, but three straight outs by Johnson kept the no-hitter intact. Johnson sailed through the sixth and seventh innings with ease, allowing his team to tack on another run in the top of the eighth, extending the Pioneers' cushion to 12-0.
The second Defiance runner found first after reaching on a wild pitch, but was successively put out in a 6-4-3 double play by the impressive Transylvania defense, ending the inning.
As the bottom of the ninth approached, Defiance nearly broke up the no hitter as Aaron Helland hit a line drive headed for left center until second baseman Ross made an incredible leaping grab to pull it down for the first out.
Next, Defiance sent in pinch hitter Matt Staels in hopes of breaking up the ongoing no-hitter, but he grounded out to shortstop Zach Riney, leaving only one out remaining to complete the performance. With Defiance's Ryan Kohlhofer at bat, a strong hit bounced to Riney, who sailed it to first baseman Mason to seal the no-hitter.
"He did it without any fanfare," said Coach Campbell. "Half of our team didn't even know he had a no-hitter going. It was fun to be a part of."
The trio of Kameron Mason, Sam Liggett and Zach Riney combined for a majority of the run support on the day. Mason went 3-for-4 with one run and two RBI while Liggett recorded a 2-for-4 day with one run and three RBI and Riney went 2-for-5 with one hit and three RBI.
In game two, Defiance was first on the scoreboard, plating a run in the bottom of the first, but the lead was short-lived, as the Pioneers tied it in the top of the second at 1-1.
In the third inning, Transylvania took the lead, 3-1, after an error in right field allowed Simpson to round the bases and score on a single.
A home run by Defiance took back one of the two runs in the bottom of the fourth, knocking a ball deep over the right field fence, but it would be the closest the Yellow Jackets would get as the Pioneers answered with two runs in the fifth, before one in the sixth and then four more runs in the seventh inning.
Transylvania pitcher Jamie King (2-1) picked up the victory in the game, giving up only two runs and eight hits in seven innings.
The Pioneers managed 13 hits in game two, with right fielder Simpson going 3-for-5 with three runs and one RBI, followed by Liggett who went 1-for-3 with one run and four RBI.
Transylvania will return to action Tuesday with a single game against conference foe Hanover. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Marquard Field.