BR-116 Henderson State pitcher Chris Hunt picked a good time to throw the eighth no-hitter in Henderson State history, as the Reddies blanked BR-122 Southeastern Oklahoma 10-0 during Friday’s consolation round game in the Great American Conference baseball tournament in Arkadelphia, Ark. It was the first no-no in GAC tournament history.
Here are three key takeaways from Hunt’s no-hitter and the Reddies’ run to the GAC title game..
1. Hunt Almost Perfect
Hunt took care of business on the hill as the junior from Greenwood, Ark. needed just 99 pitches to blank the Savage Storm, striking out eight batters over nine innings. Southeastern batters struck out swinging in seven of those at-bats; catcher Greg Husnander drew the lone called strikeout with one out in the bottom of the second.
Hunt missed a perfect game when he walked third baseman Logan Terwilliger with two out in the bottom of the fourth. After Terwilliger stole second base, Hunt closed the door on Southeastern’s rally when he induced Corban Taylor to fly out to left field to end the inning.
Southeastern grounded into 11 of the 19 in-play outs while recording eight fly outs.
2. Lots of Run Support
No-hitter or not, a pitcher often is only as good as his offense allows him to be. With their season on the line, the Reddies gave Hunt more than enough run support.
Southeastern pitcher Matt Benedict plunked Henderson left fielder Luke McGuire with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fourth to give the Reddies a 1-0 lead. While Benedict would escape that jam with a strikeout and a pop up, he didn’t fare as well in the fifth.
Third baseman Jordan Taylor led off the top of the fifth with a single to right field. After a double by designated hitter Hayden Lessenberry and a walk to Tadarious Hawkins, Taylor scored on a single to left field by Joseph Gray. Lessenberry scored on shortstop A.J. Kruzel’s sacrifice fly to give the Reddies a 3-0 lead. Catcher Jared Gage would single home Gary and Hawkins to chase Benedict after 4 1/3 innings and Henderson up 5-0.
The Reddies would add a pair of runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth for a 10-0 lead.
3. Magic Ran Out For Reddies
Southeastern wasn’t the only team knocked out by Henderson on Friday. The Reddies also scored 10 runs in the consolation bracket finals against BR-154 Arkansas Tech, who had been on a Cinderella run of their own as they eliminated top-seeded BR-64 Southwestern Oklahoma in a best-of-three series last weekend.
The Reddies would advance to Saturday’s GAC championship game thanks in part to a six-run seventh inning, eliminating the Wonder Boys 10-3. Friday’s win allowed the Reddies to avenge a 3-2 loss to Arkansas Tech in the GAC tourney’s opening round on Thursday.
The magic would run out for the Reddies, however, as BR-49 Arkansas-Monticello flipped the script in a big way in Saturday’s championship game. The Boll Weevils clinched their first GAC tournament title with a dominating 14-2 win over Henderson State.