Will Craig got within one out of his third career no-hitter and settled for a one-hit shutout in Science Hill’s win against Tennessee High on Monday at Cardinal Park.
Craig, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound right-hander, struck out seven and walked one in a 12-0, five-inning victory for the Hilltoppers, who improved to 3-0 in the Big Eight and 12-2 overall.
Pinch hitter Austin Blackwell sliced an 0-1 liner into left field to spoil Craig’s bid with two outs in the top of the fifth.
“It was a fastball low and away,” Craig said. “He put a good swing on it and drove it out in the outfield.”
Little else went wrong for Craig, a Wake Forest signee that had junior college and pro scouts in attendance. He reached 91 mph while striking out the side in the first inning, and all were retired swinging at fastballs.
“I thought he had a really good fastball ... a really good breaking ball,” Science Hill coach Ryan Edwards said. “We had to throw a few changeups. I thought he had three pitches working and good fastball command on both sides of the plate.”
Craig (1-0), who no-hit Daniel Boone and Sullivan Central his sophomore season, also went 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and three runs. He lined a single off the right-field wall which had Tennessee High coach Dave Rutherford still shaking his head 90 minutes later. The veteran Rutherford, in his first season with the Vikings (3-3, 4-4), liked Craig on the mound and at the plate.
“He stepped up there and threw the ball,” Rutherford said. “Kept it down, had good velocity on it. And you know, I’s kind of impressed by him as a hitter. Hello. He racked that wall.”
Craig is hitting .600 (18-for-30) with 11 walks. His on-base percentage is .705.
Vikings starter Mitch Stophel walked two and hit two batters during Science Hill’s four-run first, which was highlighted by center fielder Reed Hayes’ two-run triple. Hayes was 2-for-3 with two triples, three RBIs and two runs.
“Reed came up big there with a couple of triples,” Edwards said.
Tucker McPherson walked twice, reached base in each of his three plate appearances and scored three runs. Kyle Ouellette went 1-for-2, was hit by a pitch and stole a base.
Science Hill hosts Sullivan Central today at 6 p.m.