It's not like Tyson Ford was totally dominating the Western Nevada Community College baseball team. But maybe that makes his no-hitter all the more impressive.
Ford tossed a no-hitter for Salt Lake City Community College as the Bruins salvaged a split, beating WNCC 3-0 in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Friday at WNCC's John L. Harvey Field. Ford also beat the Wildcats last year.
But all was not lost for WNCC (11-12, 5-5 in the Scenic West Athletic Conference) as it was able to beat another pitcher it lost to last year in B.J. Ferguson as the Wildcats won the opener 10-3. The two teams will finish their series with a doubleheader, beginning at noon today at John L. Harvey Field.
"Most importantly that's why you play a four-game set," WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said. "It takes a few games to figure out who the best team is."
Ford walked the first hitter he faced in the first inning, leadoff batter Kyle Bondurant. But Ford was perfect the rest of the game, retiring 27 straight Wildcats.
The closest WNCC came to scoring was when Bondurant stole second. The closest the Wildcats came to picking up a hit was in the fifth whenn Zackary Swasey made a leaping grab of a line drive that was over his head off the bat of Andrew Reid. While Ford only struck out four, he recorded 14 groundball outs and just three flyball outs.
"That's the thing about baseball," Whittemore said. "When you hit it where they're not standing, you look like a genius.
"When you hit it where they're standing, you look rotten. He's as good of pitcher as we've seen all year. He spotted his fastball. His slider was breaking down to the plate."
Whittemore didn't complain about his hitters' approach at the plate. "I'm happy with the effort the hitters gave," he said. "We put a lot of balls in play."
"We're playing confident right now. We feel like we're starting to play good baseball."
Justin Garcia was the tough luck loser, taking a shutout into the fifth. He needed only five pitches to retire the side in order in the fourth. Whittemore said it was the best that he has seen Garcia pitch in his two years at WNCC.
Garcia was cruising along with two outs in the fifth, having retired 10 straight, and had an 0-2 count Joshua Chevalier. But Garcia made a critical mistake, hanging an 0-2 breaking pitch and Chevalier singled.
Tyson Mackay followed with an infield single and then Swasey hit a two-run triple to give Salt Lake a 2-0 lead.
Whittemore said it's easy to second guess the pitch selection for Garcia after the fact.
"There's always room for critique," Whittemore said. "It's just a learning process.
"That was probably the most important thing of the game. They hit it where we weren't standing a couple of times."
A balk helped Salt Lake score another run in the sixth on Leonard Zalopany's RBI single to make it 3-0. Garcia was chased in the seventh with one out and runners at first and second, but Dan Grubbs came on and got a double play to end the threat.
In the opener, Cole Rohrbough struck out 10 over four innings to pick up the win. Jake Bottari allowed a run in two innings and T.J. Wohlever pitched a scoreless seventh.
Salt Lake took a 2-0 lead in the second on Mackay's two-run single. But with the bases loaded and one out, Rorhbough to a strikeout and a popup to escape without any further damage. WNCC came back to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second on the strength of Taylor Mieras' two-run double.
"It was a great job by him," said Whittemore about Rohrbough. "It was nice to see our offense respond."
WNCC took an 8-2 lead in the third. Chuck Howard belted an two-run double to make it 5-2. Brad Carlsen followed with a perfectly placed bunt single to score Chad Walling from third to make it 6-2. The Wildcats added another run on an error and Thomas Miller walked to force in a run.
In the fourth, Howard and Mieras hit RBI doubles to make it 10-2. Howard, Mieras and Miller all had two hits.