A no-hitter and sweeps of conference opponents moved the Webster University baseball team up to 10th in the national rankings — the position it began the 2013 season in.
Junior pitcher Dylan Dean Smith tossed the first nine-inning no-hitter in Gorlok history to defeat MacMurray College (Ill.) 6-0 on Saturday, April 13 in Carlinville, Ill. In the pitching gem, Smith had 9 strikeouts and no walks, improving his record to 3-0 while lowering his ERA to 3.12. The Gorloks remain undefeated in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“I just went out there and threw my game,” Smith said. “I was hitting my spots, that was probably the main thing. (I was) locating the ball very well. They were just hitting ground balls to the left side. I knew I made a mistake and the kid hit the ball hard in the air so I knew it was my position to get the guy out. I was just on that day.”
An error by the Gorloks in the first inning allowed MacMurray to reach base, but the Gorloks erased the miscue with a double play to get out of the inning. With two outs in the second inning, another error allowed Highlanders’ second baseman Brock Hill to reach. Hill then stole second and reached third on a passed ball. Smith struck out shortstop Jared Dooley to end the inning — and set down the next 22 batters in a row — facing only one batter over the minimum.
Webster junior first baseman Brett Buchanan doubled with two outs in the first, giving the Gorloks a 2-0 lead. Buchanan also walked in the fourth, stole second and then scored on junior shortstop Ryan Hall’s single, putting the Gorloks up 3-0.
Webster coach Bill Kurich knew Smith was having a good day, but didn’t realize he was close to history until the seventh inning.
“He obviously had a very good day,” Kurich said. “He was locating his fastball, and his slider was good, and he was getting a lot of swings and misses which is a good sign it was working well that day.
“He was cruising right along, and the game was going quick, and before he knew it, we realized that they hadn’t hit a hit yet.”
Smith, like Kurich, said he didn’t know for sure if he was throwing a no-hitter.
“I had an idea in the sixth or the seventh, but I knew if I kept thinking about it, it would come back and mess up and I would lose it,” Smith said. “So I just tried putting it in the back of my head and didn’t think about it. And then in the ninth, I looked around and I was like, ‘Did I get it?’ And I saw Brett, the first baseman, come in and he said, ‘Dude, no-hitter!’ It was a good feeling, especially being the first one in Webster history.”
Kurich said once Webster figured out Smith was in the middle of pitching a no-hitter, the Gorloks tried to keep it quiet.
“We kind of mentioned it to the guys who were playing defense in the ninth inning just in case there was an opportunity to dive for a ball or not, to make sure they did one way or another,” Kurich said. “After he got the 27th out, the guys (kind of) jogged onto the field, but I think about half of the guys on the bench didn’t even realize it was a no-hitter until we told them.”
The Gorloks added two runs in the sixth and one in the eighth, defeating MacMurray 6-0 behind Smith’s gem. Junior outfielder Jared Turner was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs in the win.
Earlier that day, the Gorloks blasted Blackburn College (Ill.) 15-2. Senior pitcher Steven Dooley gave up 2 earned runs and struck out 5 while improving his record to 4-2 on the season.
The Gorloks scored a run in the first inning followed by 7 in the second, all with two outs.
The Gorloks went on to score 1 run in the third, 3 in the fourth and 3 in the sixth inning, making it the fourth time the team has scored 15 or more runs this season.
The Gorloks kept their SLIAC record spotless with a doubleheader sweep of Blackburn on Sunday, April 14 at GCS Ballpark.
In the 8-1 victory of Game 1, sophomore pitcher Isaac Behme went 6 innings — allowing 5 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 5. With the victory, Behme now leads the Gorloks with a record of 6-2 on the season.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Gorloks improved their record to 22-6 (14-0 SLIAC) defeating the Beavers 6-4 in nine innings.
After a leadoff walk to junior second baseman Taylor Stoulp in the seventh, Rainbolt singled, and Kazmierski laid down a sacrifice bunt for a single that the Blackburn pitcher rifled into the bullpen in right field — allowing Stoulp to score. Junior catcher Ian Foege then grounded out, scoring Rainbolt and making it 6-4. Senior pitcher Jason Gray pitched a scoreless ninth and earned his fourth save of the season.
The wins have placed Webster at 10th in the nation, according to D3baseball.com. Webster was ranked 10th in the preseason poll, but in Week 3 fell to unranked. Last week, the Gorloks were ranked 15th.
The Gorloks will head to Shaw Park in Clayton to take on Fontbonne University on Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. The Gorloks are back home on Sunday, April 21 to face Fontbonne in a doubleheader at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., at 4 p.m.