Cole McDonald Throws No-Hitter at University Games

By Jeremy Karll on August 25, 2017 at 10:01 am
Old McDonald pitched a gem.



Very few things make waking up for Spanish class at 8 a.m. fun, but Cole McDonald throwing a no-hitter against the Czech Republic in Team USA's first semifinal game is one of them. USA was in control the entire game, resulting in an 8-0 win and one of the best pitching performances ever from an Iowa pitcher. Even though it doesn't technically count as an Iowa no-hitter since it happened at the World University Games, it's still something that hasn't been done by an Iowa pitcher since 1965, according to the Iowa baseball media guide.

McDonald struck out nine batters, walked three, and another reached base on a Kyle Crowl error in the fifth inning. Also, it only took McDonald 96 pitches to complete the no-hitter, meaning he also completed a Maddux, a term coined by Jason Lukehart to describe a pitcher who throws a complete game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches. McDonald becomes the second Iowa pitcher in the last few years to throw a Maddux; Tyler Peyton threw one against Penn State in 2016. It helps that McDonald only faced two batters over the minimum, as two of his walks were erased by double plays.

McDonald actually struggled a little in the first inning, though. He walked two batters but was helped by a double play. After the double play, McDonald retired his next 11 batters faced and didn't walk another batter until one out in the ninth inning. He also had a 6-0 lead to work with before he even took the mound.

Everything clicked for Team USA on Friday morning, and the offense would have been the story if not for McDonald's performance. Helped by three Czech Republic errors and a couple of walks, USA sent 11 hitters to the plate during its six-run first inning. In fact, the Czech Republic didn't record its first out until USA's ninth hitter of the inning, Mitchell Boe, popped out to first.  

USA scored its first two runs when Tyler Cropley recorded his first of a team-high three hits, a double down the left field line. A batter later, Grant Judkins reached on a throwing error, scoring Neustrom and extending the lead, 3-0. In the ensuing at-bats, Lorenzo Elion reached on an error and Matt Hoeg singled to left field, each driving in a run. The final run of the inning came when Elion scored on a sac fly off of Chris Whelan's bat.

USA only scored two more runs the rest of the game, though. Whelan grounded out in the third inning, scoring Crowl and giving USA a 7-0 lead. Then, USA tacked on a run in the ninth when Tanner Wetrich scored on a sac fly from Justin Jenkins.

Cropley was the only USA hitter to record more than one hit, and he and Whelan led the team with a pair of RBIs each.

McDonald's no-hitter is more significant than just not allowing a hit. For one, after an up-and-down year as a sophomore in 2017 (2-4, 6.96 ERA in 13 appearances/11 starts), McDonald is fighting for a spot in Iowa's rotation next season. While the season is still months away, throwing a no-hitter definitely gives him an edge over other potential starters for now.

Also, Team USA isn't in the Gold Medal game yet. It will take on South Korea, which lost 2-1 to Japan this morning, before the semifinal is set. In an important game where winning would guarantee USA a top-two seed in the semifinal starting Sunday, having a rested bullpen is extremely important. USA takes on Korea tonight at 10 p.m. CT, so not a ton of rest but USA will have a rested bullpen at least.

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