Thu, Apr. 14, 2011 - [Baseball]
Saturday, April 9, 2011 will be a day Kendall Paluch will always remember. It will be remembered as the day he threw a no-hitter in just his fourth start in college. He entered with a Duhawks-best 2.16 ERA, off to a solid start to his career and lowered it well below two by the time the seven inning contest was over with the Cornell College Rams was over.
Paluch, a freshman from Joliet, Illinois threw Loras' first no-hitter since 1994 to start Saturday in a game that took just 88 minutes to complete. Paluch struck out six Rams and erased a scary first inning to cruise to the memorable win.
After a 1-2-3 top of the first inning for the Duhawks offense, a leadoff error by their defense immediately put Paluch under pressure. Paluch committed an error of his own as Cornell tried to bunt over leadoff man Matt Pfister. After strikeouts to the three and four hitters, Paluch added his only walk of the day to the already stressful inning to load the bases. He escaped with a pop out to third base to end the inning.
It would turn out to be the only inning in which a Ram would reach base.
Paluch followed with 18 straight outs after the pop-out to end the first inning to record the no-hitter. Over the final six innings, the outing included four more strikeouts, eight fly outs, and six ground outs.
"I give a lot of credit to the guys behind me for stepping up and playing outstanding defense," Paluch said after the series was over.
"I struck out six and had two come-backers, so the other 13 outs were all thanks to the defense." Paluch added. "I also think Kevin (Moriarty) deserves recognition for his one-hitter performance the previous day. To start off the series like that really set the tone."
Loras pushed across single runs in the third and fifth innings. More freshmen did the damage for the Duhawks there. Eric DeSousa walked and eventually scored on a throwing error by the Rams infield. Mike Pudlo reached on a fielder's choice and was later driven home by an Austin Brown single to left field.
"Kendall got ahead all day and executed pitches with a purpose," pitching coach Dan Wellik said after the series. "Our whole staff has done a great job, especially this weekend, and they should all be commended for giving us an opportunity to win every game."
After the dust settled on Paluch's performance and the weekend came to an end, the accolades began to roll in for the first-year Duhawk. He was named the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's Pitcher of the Week and overall Male Athlete of the Week. The Duhawks swept the baseball awards when Austin Brown was also the Position Player of the Week after he tied a Loras record with five hits in Game 1 of the series.
Paluch threw one of four no-hitters across NCAA Division III baseball that week - an unusually high number - garnering him National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Honorable Mention Pitcher of the Week.
The Duhawks boast the second best team ERA in the IIAC at 3.62. Paluch's ERA is currently 1.35. Loras has eight more league games at Petrakis Park remaining in 2011, beginning April 29.