St. Xavier No-Hits Catholic
Three St. Xavier pitchers combined on a no-hitter as St.X picked up a huge early season victory over Lexington Catholic 2-1 in 8 innings. The cold, damp conditions were an advantage to the pitchers as the Tigers only managed six hits, as well.
LHP Ian Tompkins
threw the first five innings for St. X, allowing no runs and striking out five. He exited after 80 pitches and was able to get out of an early jam as he picked off two Catholic base runners in the first inning. Catholic put another runner in scoring position in the third, only to see Thompkins record a strikeout to get out of it.
Catholic starter RHP Taylor Martin
and reliever RHP Tyler Arthur
matched Thompkins pitch for pitch, each throwing four innings. Martin allowed no runs on four hits, two walks, while striking out seven. Arthur gave up two unearned runs on two hits, walking three and striking out two in his appearance.
St. X drew first blood in the top of the 6th when Alex Mattingly squeezed Shaun Johnston
home after Johnston had reached on an error.
Catholic tied the game in the bottom half off reliever Eric Huber. Will Hurt
walked, moved up to third on a Huber throwing error, and scored on a fielder’s choice.
Huber and Arthur both threw scoreless frames in the 7th to send the game into extra innings. St. X loaded the bases with no one out in the 8th. Arthur got Shane Nitzken
to ground into a fielder’s choice for the first out, but walked Mattingly to force in the go-ahead run. A pair of groundouts sent the game into the bottom of the 8th as St. X brought in closer RHP Zach Clooney
Clooney made quick work of the Knights with two strikeouts and a pop out to give the Tigers the win, and a combined no-hitter by Thompkins, Huber, and Clooney.
St. Xavier looks to continue their undefeated season against Brentwood Academy (TN), winners of three straight state titles.
Lexington Catholic heads to the Warrior Spring Classic in Nashville, before playing in the Frank Shoop Invitational at Harrison County April 8-9.
The top two teams in the state of Kentucky square off Thursday in a big early season test for both teams. The game pits the top team from Louisville (#26 St.Xavier) against the top team from Lexington (Lexington Catholic).
In last year’s contest, St. Xavier took a 3-1 lead into the 7th behind starter LHP Ian Tompkins, before Catholic came back with three runs and a come from behind 4-3 victory.
Thompkins, who will start again on Thursday, has been lights out so far this season giving up only one hit in ten innings and striking out 20. The Western Kentucky commit is just one of the top-level arms that give St. Xavier the best pitching in Kentucky and possibly the nation. Fellow WKU commit RHP Matt Spalding and his 94 mph fastball is rated #127 in the 2011 class and has a chance to be a high draft pick. Olney Central (IL) CC commit RHP Zach Clooney give the Tigers another upper 80s arm.
Clooney will most likely relieve Thursday, after picking up a win in a 4-3 victory over Lexington Christian and a save against Perry Meridian (IN). St. X is 5-0 on the year, including four straight shutouts.
Lexington Catholic will counter with their ace, RHP Taylor Martin. The Kentucky commit will be making his 2011 debut after the Lexington Catholic basketball team season ended last week. Catholic coach Taylor Brooks knows that control will be a big factor in the early season for Martin.
“The big key for Taylor to have a good outing is to locate and be able to throw all of his pitches at any time. With the game having national implications, he needs to approach it as just another game and stay within himself.”
RHP Tyler Arthur and RHP RJ Carroll will throw in relief for the Knights who come into the game 3-1 after a 12-2 win over Lexington Christian Tuesday.
Brooks will look for junior SS Will Hurt, a Coastal Carolina commit, to set the tone from the leadoff spot, and use his speed to his advantage. C Tyler Jackson and OF Tyler Wells have provided the pop in the middle of the lineup with Wells leading the team in RBI.
St. X is led on offense by senior SS Michael Hellmueller, who Coach John Jefferson refers to as the most underrated player in the state.
“I can’t remember the last time he made an error and he already has one game winning, walk-off RBI this year. He is the heart and soul of our team as our captain.”
Other players Jefferson and the Tigers will count on are CF Jake Johnson and DH Ryan Loehnert, who have been very effective in the early going, along with seniors Pete Eddings and Shaun Johnston.
Both coaches know how important this game is and know it might not be the only matchup of the year.
“This game means a lot due to the Louisville/Lexington rivalry,” says Jefferson. “We know to get to the state, we are going to have to go through Lexington Catholic. This is a good measuring stick for where we are.”
Brooks agrees, “Anytime St. X and Lexington Catholic play it is a big game for our two programs, especially in Kentucky, But with this being the National Game of the Week, it does raise the bar some. St. X has gotten a lot of publicity nationwide this year, so it is an opportunity for our program to make a big statement. It is going to be a war and a great game. It will be a special night for both programs.
Check back Friday for the Game of the Week recap.
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