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MENOMONIE – James Palmer made UW-Stout baseball history when he became the first Blue Devil to pitch a nine-inning no-hitter Tuesday with an 8-0 conference win over UW-Platteville at Nelson Field.
Palmer fanned nine to throw the first complete game no-hitter since Brett Blair threw a seven-inning no-hitter March 10, 1997. Four Blue Devils combined for a 7-inning no-hitter March 4, 2009.
A no-hitter was not on anyone’s mind early in the game as Palmer walked the first batter he faced. But Palmer forced a fly-out, catcher Alex Jinkins erased the lead-off hitter attempting to steal and Palmer got out of the inning with another fly-out. Palmer got out of perhaps his biggest jam of the afternoon in the third inning. After two outs, Palmer walked consecutive batter, but forced a fly-out to right field to end the threat.
Palmer would walk five batters, but always found a way out of any jam. In the seventh, Palmer walked the leadoff hitter, but then forced a double play. He faced three batters in the first, second, fourth, sixth and eighth innings. The first batter of the ninth inning drew a walk, but Palmer struck out the next batter. The lead runner was put out on a fielder’s choice for out No. 2 when shortstop Charlie Szykowny threw to second, then repeated the feat to seal the no-hitter and the celebration was on. Catcher Jinkins charged the mound and jumped into Palmer’s arms. The bench cleared and the celebration ensued.
And the Blue Devil bats were out in support of Palmer. Stout (14-16, 10-12 WIAC) pounded out 11 hits in the contest, scoring three runs in the third inning. Nolan Harke had a one out triple to center field, Jinikins was hit by a pitch and Szykowny brought Harke home with a single to right field. Drew Ries walked to load the bases and Kasey Bass lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Jinkins. Merrill stroked a double to score Szykowny.
Stout scored five runs in the seventh inning. Jinkins hit a one-out double. Szykowny brought Jinkins home with a second. Ries recorded an RBI single, Bass an RBI double, Hunter Merrill a two-run home run to center field to close out the scoring. Jinkins, Szykowny, Merrill and Harke all had two hits in the game.
The Blue Devils won the nightcap, 8-7, a game that was in doubt until the very end.
After being held hitless in the first game, the Pioneers (14-18, 8-14 WIAC) put together a four-run first inning, using a combination of two hits and two Stout errors to take a 4-0 lead.
The Blue Devils answered back in their half of the inning, scoring three runs. Jinkins was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, then moved to third on Sykowny’s double. Ries drove in both with a single to center field. Stout loaded the bases and Harke’s fielder’s choice delivered the final run of the inning. Stout tied the game at 4-4 on Szykowny’s RBI double in the second inning.
Stout would add a run in the fifth on Levi Wilson’s RBI double,then added two more in the sixth on Bass’s two-run double.
The Pioneers scored in the eighth on a sacrifice fly, but the Blue Devils got that run back in the bottom of the inning and Stout lead 8-5. The Pioneers made the game exciting with a two-run home run by Ben Espinoza. Alex Mahaz put the fire out with a flyout and two ground balls.
Ries finished the game with three RBIs and was 2 for 5. Szykowny was 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Bass was 2 for 5 and Wilson and Colin Hageman was 2 for 4.
The Blue Devils collected 13 hits to Platteville’s seven. Jonathan Kelso and Austin Pullara both had two hits.
The wins pushed Stout ahead of Platteville in the WIAC standings. Stout will travel to Platteville, Friday, May 7. The teams are scheduled to return to Menomonie, Saturday, May 8 for a non-conference doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. at Wakanda Park.