Baseball: Oswego East pitchers team up for no-hitter
Coming into his senior season, Auburn-bound Oswego East pitcher Matt Schultz was certain to pile up some memorable moments this spring.
In the Wolves’ Southwest Prairie Conference opener against Romeoville Tuesday, Schultz went above and beyond a memorable moment.
He made some history.
Schultz was dominant for five innings before being lifted due to his pitch count, and Matt Miller came on and finished the Spartans off in a 6-0 win. The duo combined for a no-hitter, the first no-hitter in program history.
Schultz struck out 10 and walked two in his five innings, allowing only one ball out of the infield. Miller picked up from there to finish off a historic conference opener for the Wolves.
“I only threw five innings, but I guess it’s still a no-hitter,” Schultz humbly said after the game. “It set the tone for the rest of conference play. It’s a huge win for us. We just need to keep it rolling. It built a ton of confidence for us and hopefully we can keep it going in the next game.”
With the wind howling in from left, it was a pitcher’s day, and Schultz (1-0) took full advantage from the start. He struck out six of the first seven batters he faced before Matt Esquivel tried to lay down a bunt to reach base. The perfect game went by the wayside a batter later when Schultz walked Ryan Fetzer.
Schultz allowed a one-out walk in the fourth, but picked Videl Gonzalez off to end the inning. After laying down the side in order in the fifth, Schultz left with a 3-0 lead after approaching the 75-pitch mark.
“Matt was awesome,” Oswego East coach Jim Vera said. “Obviously, he was on today. It makes my job easy. Anytime we have Matt on the mound, we have a good chance. He wants the ball and he wants to finish what he starts. He’s a competitor. We’re doing what we need to for him (in regards to his pitch count).”
Schultz threw in front of three Major League Baseball scouts who saw him work primarily with his fastball in the cool conditions. He did drop a couple of curveball hammers on the Spartans during two tricky at-bats, but for the most part, it was all fastballs for the senior Tuesday.
“I just have to work on keeping the ball down more,” Schultz said. “I didn’t throw much off-speed today, so I worked on my fastball and hit my spots. Every time I’m out there, I never want to come off the mound. I understand that I’m on a pitch count, so it’s a little tough, but it’s all right.”
The Wolves (3-3, 1-0) didn’t exactly tear the cover off the ball either, but they took advantage of Romeoville’s mistakes to put six runs on the board. RBI groundouts from Miller and Jake Litkenhus in the third gave the Wolves a 3-0 lead. Chris Cooper stole home on a double steal in the fifth to push it to 4-0 and they added two unearned runs in the sixth to cap the day.
Miller did the rest, allowing a runner to reach on an error, but setting down the other six batters he face in order to complete the no-hitter.