Hilltoppers' Blomquist Fires No-Hit Gem
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Tyler Blomquist threw a no-hitter and the West Liberty University baseball team swept a Mountain East Conference doubleheader from Fairmont State on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Bridgeport Athletic Complex.
Coach Eric Burkle's Hilltoppers (18-17, 16-12) came from behind to pull out a 4-2 win in the first game before riding Blomquist's strong right arm into the history books with a 6-0 shutout in the finale.
Blomquist became the first WLU pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Parker Dyson's 3-0 no-hit gem against Fairmont State on April 30, 2017 at Kovalick Field and the first to hurl a road no-hitter in more than three decades.
A senior right-hander from St. Clairsville, Ohio, Blomquist struggled with control at times but maintained swing-and-miss stuff throughout. He allowed six walks but recorded 10 of his 21 outs via the strikeout route and his teammates played errorless defense behind him.
The crafty veteran saved some of his best stuff for last. He retired Fairmont's E.J. Trickett on a deep fly ball to center to open the seventh before striking out the final two hitters. Blomquist got Brycen Virgili to chase a fastball out of the zone for the second out before snapping a curveball across the inside edge for strike three against Nick Schroader, setting off a wild celebration.
The West Liberty offense provided plenty of support. The opportunistic Hilltoppers plated a couple of unearned runs in the top of the second and added another tally in the third before Ty Helmke broke the game open with a three-run bomb over the right field fence in the top of the sixth.
Helmke had a double to go along with his three-run blast while Chad Matthus added a double and single and Kaden Blomquist singled twice and drove in a run. Ross Salvatori also had a pair of singles and Jason Schutte chimed in with an RBI double.
In the opener, Kayne McGee's two-run pinch-hit home run in the top of the seventh gave the Black and Gold a thrilling come-from-behind win.
Trailing 2-1 entering the seventh, Schutte led off with an infield single and moved up to second on a Jarrett Delbrugge sacrifice. McGee followed with his two-run blast over the right field wall and the Hilltoppers tacked on an insurance tally later in the frame.
Logan Grimm went the distance on the hill for the win. After surrendering a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh, Grimm struck out the next three batters to close out the win. He held the Falcons to seven hits and one earned run while fanning nine and giving up only one walk.
Helmke reached base four times with three singles and a walk while Colton Coss also walked and bashed out a pair of singles.
Sunday's sweep vaulted West Liberty into sole possession of second place in the MEC North Division. The Hilltoppers host North Division leader Wheeling on Friday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
West Liberty 4, Fairmont State 2
West Liberty 100 000 3 – 4 9 1
Fairmont State 100 010 0 – 2 7 3
WLU: Grimm wp (9SO, 1W) and Hawkins. Helmke 3S; Coss 2S; McGee HR, 2rbi; Banko D
FSU: Cramer (4SO, 2W), Seymour (6) (1SO, 0W), Paull lp (7) (0SO, 2W) and Ramos. Brown HR, D, rbi; Sabatino 2S; Haskins D, rbi
West Liberty 6, Fairmont State 0
West Liberty 021 003 0 – 6 9 0
Fairmont State 000 000 0 – 0 0 2
WLU: T.Blomquist wp (10SO, 6W) and Rine. Helmke HR, D, 3rbi; Matthus D, S; K.Blomquist 2S, rbi; Salvatori 2S; Schutte D, rbi
FSU: Taylor lp (8SO, 1W), Camacho (6) (0SO, 1W), Young (7) (1SO, 0W) and Ramos.