by Matt Neal
The Express arms were dominant and the bats had just enough juice, scratching across some late insurance runs as Strasburg won at Front Royal 5-0 last night, no-hitting the Cardinals in the process.
Gene Hurst (Samford) was the winning arm on the mound, starting for Strasburg and going 5 scoreless innings while allowing no hits, striking out 7 and walking none. Brian Coffey (New Mexico) finished the 6th inning recording 2 strikeouts and allowing no hits. Newcomer Evan Rathburn (Central Missouri) and his 90 mph fastball powered through the next 2 innings allowing no hits and striking out 6 of the 7 batters he faced. Eric Sottile (Samford) took his low 90’s heater to the mound in the 9th and struck out all 3 batters, securing the first team no-hitter in Express history.
The staff, as a whole, combined to strike out 18 Cardinals while facing only two batters beyond the minimum. They were a single BB and HBP away from a team perfect game. The Express threw 96 of 125 total pitches in the zone, good for a strike percentage of 77%.
Offensively Nicholas Toney (FAU) led the way with two hits including a home run and two runs scored. Brandon Henson (VCU) finished the evening 2-for-5 while Brett Hawkins (Young Harris), JoJo Ortiz (U of Louisiana-Monroe) and Sonny DiCharia (Samford) each recorded a hit and a RBI. Drew Minter (Houston) and Griffin Cheney (Georgia State) each contributed a double on the evening.
Congratulations to the Express quartet!