• Get the Blackhawks Championship Package
    Get the Blackhawks Championship Package
  • Give the Gift of SI
    Give the Gift of SI
Posted: Saturday June 2, 2012 12:22AM ; Updated: Saturday June 2, 2012 12:45AM

NCAA baseball: Florida's Crawford throws no-hitter in 4-0 victory

Story Highlights

Jonathon Crawford threw a no-hitter in Florida's 4-0 win over Bethune-Cookman

Kent State topped Kentucky 7-6 in 21 innings in second-longest tourney game

Dayton fell in its first NCAA tourney appearance with a loss to Texas A&M

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
Jonathon Crawford
Jonathon Crawford needed just 98 pitches for Florida's first no-hitter since 1991.
Phil Sandlin/AP

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Jonathon Crawford was nearly perfect for Florida.

Turned out the Gators right-hander was plenty good enough to make some college baseball history.

Crawford threw the seventh no-hitter ever in the NCAA tournament, shutting down Bethune-Cookman in a 4-0 victory in the opener of the Gainesville Regional on Friday night.

"When I came out for the eighth, I got really nervous and excited and that's when it hit me that I could get a no-hitter,'' Crawford said. "I was pumped. It was crazy, but a lot of fun. I guess it's a pretty big deal.''

No doubt about it.

Crawford, a sophomore who wasn't even part of the Gators' three-man weekend rotation this season, faced the minimum 27 batters. The only player to reach base was Bethune-Cookman's Jake Welch on a walk in the third inning, and Florida catcher Mike Zunino threw him out trying to steal.

Crawford (6-2) struck out five and walked one for the Gators' first no-hitter since 1991, by John Burke - also the last one thrown in the NCAA tournament - in a 2-0 win over Furman. Crawford needed just 98 pitches, throwing 70 for strikes, for Florida (43-18).

It was the fifth no-hitter by a single pitcher in program history; Florida also has had three combined no-hitters.

"Unbelievable,'' Bethune-Cookman coach Jason Beverlin said. "It was a pretty unbelievable game. Crawford did an unbelievable job pitching, probably an understatement.''

Crawford completed his no-hitter less than an hour before the New York Mets' Johan Santana threw the first no-no in the team's history, beating St. Louis 8-0.

The Wildcats managed to hit just six balls out of the infield, but nearly broke through in their final at-bat when Carlos Delgado ripped a line drive to the right side. Florida second baseman Casey Turgeon leaped to make the catch and secure the no-hitter.

When Turgeon came down with the ball, the crowd roared and Crawford's teammates swarmed him on the field.

"I jumped as high as I could,'' Turgeon said, "and luckily I got it.''

Crawford had first-pitch strikes against 19 of the hitters he faced, and his fastball reached 97 mph in the ninth inning.

"The last batter,'' Crawford said, "I was just throwing as hard as I could.''

His brilliant pitching pushed Florida, the top overall seed in the country, to a matchup with Georgia Tech on Saturday. Bethune-Cookman (34-26) will face the College of Charleston in an elimination game.

The Gators took an early 1-0 lead and piled on three more runs on Turgeon's homer in the bottom of the fifth inning. Turgeon went 3 for 4 and drove in all of Florida's runs.

Crawford, 20, is a soft-spoken guy from Okeechobee, Fla., a town of almost 6,000. Gators coach Kevin O'Sullivan said Crawford's level personality helped him finish out the game while the crowd was in a frenzy.

"You see a lot of innocence with Jonathan,'' O'Sullivan said. "His calmness helps and Mike Zunino helps a lot with that. They worked outstanding together all night and Mike deserves a lot of credit for that.''

The no-hitter was a milestone for Crawford, who threw a total of 3 2/3 innings as a freshman last season.

When Florida went to the College World Series a year ago, O'Sullivan chose to leave Crawford off the roster in favor of more experienced pitchers.

"Twelve months later, he's starting the first game of a regional and he throws a no-hitter,'' O'Sullivan said. "To me, this is what coaching is all about. This is a night he will never forget and I will never forget.''

KENT STATE 7, KENTUCKY 6

GARY, Ind. -- Alex Miklos hit a go-ahead RBI triple in the 21st inning as Kent State outlasted Kentucky 7-6 on Friday night in the second-longest game in NCAA tournament history.

The Golden Flashes (42-17) held the lead in the ninth and 18th innings, but the Wildcats (43-17) answered both times to extend the game. It was the longest game in the NCAA tournament since Texas beat Boston College 3-2 in 25 innings on May 30, 2009.

Miklos came to the plate in the 21st having gone 1 for 7 and striking out three times. He hit a shot to the center-field wall that drove in Joe Koch with the go-ahead run.

The Wildcats got the tying run to third base in the bottom half of the 21st, but Thomas McCarthy struck out to end the game.

Michael Clark (3-4), Kent State's fifth pitcher, got the win after pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings.

TEXAS A&M 4, DAYTON 1

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Michael Wacha threw seven-plus solid innings and Texas A&M spoiled Dayton's NCAA tournament debut with a 4-1 victory Friday night.

Wacha, a likely first-round selection in next week's baseball draft, struck out nine and limited Dayton to five hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Jacob House paced the Aggies (43-16) with three hits and an RBI, while Matt Juengel and Mikey Reynolds also drove in runs. Wacha (9-1) exited to a standing ovation after earning the first out of the seventh inning on his 119th pitch. Kyle Martin got four outs for his seventh save.

Dayton starter Mike Hauschild (7-3) took the loss.

The Aggies take on future Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi, a 6-2 winner over TCU, on Saturday night in the winners' bracket. The Flyers (31-29) face the Horned Frogs in an elimination game.

SOUTH CAROLINA 7, MANHATTAN 0

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Colby Holmes allowed one hit in eight innings, Adam Matthews drove in three runs and two-time defending national champion South Carolina won its 17th straight NCAA tournament game with a 7-0 victory over Manhattan in the Columbia Regional on Friday.

Holmes (7-1) and Jaspers starter Taylor Sewitt each carried no-hitters into the sixth inning until the Gamecocks broke through. Matthews' two-out, bases-loaded single drove in two runs and broke the scoreless tie. Tanner English followed with a two-run triple to put the Gamecocks (41-17) ahead 4-0.

Matthews added an RBI single in South Carolina's three-run eighth.

The only drama left was if Holmes would complete his no hit try. But Joe Rock had a clean single to right with two outs in the eighth.

Sewitt (11-2) had thrown 39 1-3 scoreless innings for Manhattan (33-26) before South Carolina's four-run sixth.

NORTH CAROLINA 7, CORNELL 4

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Colin Moran had four hits to help North Carolina beat Cornell 7-4 on Friday in the Chapel Hill Regional of the NCAA tournament.

Jacob Stallings and Adam Griffin each drove in two runs for the top-seeded Tar Heels (45-14), the No. 6 national seed. Moran's big day came a week after going just 2 for 14 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

North Carolina scored the first five runs Friday, then added two after the fourth-seeded Big Red had closed to 5-3 in the sixth inning.

Hobbs Johnson (7-1) earned the win, allowing six hits and two runs in five innings. Michael Morin picked up his 18th save to tie a school single-season record.

Brian Billigen hit a two-run homer in the sixth for Cornell (31-16-1), which committed four errors.

Rick Marks (4-5) took the loss, allowing nine hits and five runs in 3 2-3 innings.

The game included a 71-minute rain delay.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
SI.com
Hot Topics: NBA Draft Yasiel Puig NHL Playoffs NBA Playoffs Mark Cuban Jabari Parker
TM & © 2014 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines, your California privacy rights, and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint