DAVIDSON, N.C. – Seth Varner sat five outs away from history in the Miami baseball team’s 6-0 victory at Davidson on Friday evening.
The senior lefty had a no-hitter going through 7 1/3 innings and ended up tossing eight shutout innings in the RedHawks’ (2-5) second-straight victory.
“It was cool to see Seth pitch today,” Miami head coach Danny Hayden said. “He was awesome and really went after hitters all day.”
A two-out rally plated the RedHawks’ first run of the game. Matt Honchel worked a walk and scored after consecutive singles by Gary Russo and John Crummy to put Miami ahead 1-0 in the first inning. Varner (1-1) worked two clean innings, striking out a pair and issuing only one walk for Davidson’s (2-4) lone base runner in the first two frames.
The Wildcats put a scoring threat together in the third when a walk and an error put runners at the corners with nobody out. Varner maneuvered out of the trouble, inducing a fly out and a double play to keep the one-run advantage intact.
A Davidson error allowed the RedHawks to pile on some insurance runs with two-outs in the top of the fifth. Honchel reached on a two-out miscue and a Russo walk put two on for Crummy, who drilled a two-run triple to put the Red and White on top 3-0. Crummy later scored on another error to put Miami ahead 4-0.
Varner cruised from there, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning and at one point retiring 15-straight batters. With one out in the eighth, pinch-hitter Ben Arkin drilled a double off the left field wall for Davidson’s first base runner since the third inning. The Wildcats proceeded to load the bases on a Chris Dyer walk followed by a hit batter, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. Undeterred, Varner locked in and struck out Forest Brandt before escaping the jam on a David Daniels fly out.
“We were at a spot where his pitch count was getting up there a little bit,” Hayden said. “He did a great job battling through the eighth when he was getting close to the end of his day.”
The Red and White added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth as Steve Sada led off the frame with a triple and scored on Jake Romano’s sacrifice fly to make it 5-0. After walking with one out, Dan Walsh advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Russo’s RBI double to cap the scoring. Wynston McMartin pitched a perfect ninth to secure a one-hit shutout victory.
Varner picked up his first win of the year by allowing just the one hit in eight shutout innings. The lefty struck out eight batters and issued three walks. He was five outs away from becoming the first Miami pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Jack Kucek no-hit Cincinnati during the 1974 NCAA District 4 Playoffs.
Offensively, Russo (2-for-3 with a double and two walks) and Crummy (2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI) posted four of MU's seven hits and combined for four RBI.
Miami and Davidson continue their weekend series on Saturday, with the first pitch coming at 2 p.m.
Note: Prior to the game, the teams announced that Sunday’s series finale will begin at 1 p.m., one hour earlier than previously scheduled.