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April 21, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Penn State junior Steven Hill (Colleyville, Texas) threw a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday afternoon. Hill is the first Penn State pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Nate Bump did against Duquesne in 1995. Hill is the first Nittany Lion pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in a Big Ten game.
"I would never expect to throw a no-hitter," said Hill. "I've never done it before. There are so many non-baseball things running through my head right now. It's truly amazing. I'm truly blessed."
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a 1-1 count, Hill forced Jacob Yacinich to ground out to junior shortstop Elliot Searer (Lewistown, Pa.). Searer made one of many fantastic plays at short on the day by firing a ball to senior Jordan Steranka (Pittsburgh, Pa.) at first to end the game and make Penn State baseball history.
"When you are in the game, you don't really think about it," said head coach Robbie Wine. "And still it really hasn't sunk in yet. But for Steve Hill to go out there and do that for the team in such a crucial game, it's huge. For the season it means a lot and for him he'll remember that forever. It's just a fun event and once again, it reinforces why you coach."
Hill had some stellar defensive play behind him. Most notably, with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Mike McQuillan hit a scorching ball to left field. Senior Sean Deegan (Readington, N.J.) made a great read on the ball and ran back to make a fantastic catch. Additionally, in the seventh inning with two outs, Ryan Rumph ripped a ground ball down the first base line. Steranka made a great play on the line and flipped the ball to Hill to end the inning and keep the no-hitter alive.
Hill stuck out three batters on the day and allowed a total of just two base runners. The junior threw 105 total pitches, 69 of them for strikes. Hill picked up his fourth consecutive victory and pitched his second complete game of the season.
"Steve was himself in the dugout today," said pitching coach Jason Bell. "He did a great job of staying focused in a tight ball game that was very meaningful."
Freshman catcher JC Coban (Boca Raton, Fla.) not only caught the no-hitter, but he also provided the run support for Hill. In the top of the fifth, junior Luis Montesinos (Miami, Fla.) led off with a single. Despite Montesinos getting thrown out at second on a bunt attempt, the Nittany Lions still had a runner on first with one out. Coban launched a ball off the left centerfield scoreboard, a two-run shot, to give Penn State a 2-0 lead.
"It's unbelievable," said Coban. Your feelings really can't describe it. You dream about this stuff. For it to actually happen, it just makes me speechless."
The last Big Ten pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Alex Wimmers of Ohio State in 2009.
Penn State is back in action tomorrow as junior John Walter (Haddonfield, N.J.) will make the start in the final game of the series at 1:05 p.m. ET. Fans in State College can tune into ESPN Radio 1450, as Loren Crispell and Brian Tripp will provide the play-by-play from Iowa City.
Follow Penn State baseball on Twitter: www.twitter.com/psubaseball.
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