After striking out the last two Oregon hitters to end the ball game, Scotty Sunitsch dropped his glove on the mound in triumph as his Washington State teammates swarmed around him, congratulating him on his no-hitter.
After winning the first two games of the series, Oregon failed to get a hit against Washington State and fell to the Cougars 7-0. Sunitsch’s (3-1) season-high for innings pitched before the game was was seven, with seven strikeouts. Today, he pitched all nine innings with nine strikeouts.
“My change-up was really on, that saved the game for me,” Sunitsch said. “I actually didn’t feel very good to start the day, but it turned out alright.”
Head coach George Horton was disappointed by the outcome of the game for the Ducks, but recognized that it was a special day for Sunitsch. It was the first time Horton had ever been on the opposing side of a no-hitter.
“He was too much for us to tackle today,” Horton said. “He had all four pitches mixing and pressing.”
The losing pitcher, Kelby Somers (1-4) started the game but left in the sixth inning. James Acuna replaced Somers with runners on second and third with one out, and struck out the next two batters.
Washington State sealed the game in the seventh inning by scoring four more runs to add to its 3-0 lead. Andres Alvarez reached second base after an error from Ryne Nelson, who threw it over the head of the first baseman after getting Alvarez in a pickoff situation.
One walk and a hit batter later and the bases were loaded. Oregon replaced Acuna with Nico Tellache, who walked in the next run. After making yet another pitching change with Peyton Fuller, Robert Teel launched a three-run double that sealed the game.
The closest play of the day to ending the no-hitter came at the start of the ninth inning. Kyle Kasser hit a deep shot to left field, but Derek Chapman made a sliding catch to keep the streak going.
“We only had about five or six quality at bats,” Horton said. “We need to get a lot better at a speed-mix guy. It seems to short circuit us.”
One of the only times Oregon had men on base came at the price of an injured batter. Third baseman Spencer Steer was hit in the right knee by a pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning. After laying on the ground for some time in serious pain, the sophomore limped to first base with the coaches, but was in too much pain to remain on the field.
“Either side of the knee is very painful, and he couldn’t put any weight on it,” Horton said. “So fingers crossed that we’ll have him tomorrow.”
Oregon will play one non-conference game tomorrow against Portland at home. Then, the team travels to Seattle for a three game series against Washington starting Friday.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august