Hornets get no-hitter from Friedrich
SALISBURY — It’s hard to imagine things getting much better for the Salisbury baseball team.
The Hornets have won six of their last seven games after pitcher Scott Friedrich dictated one of the season’s best feel-good stories Friday night. The senior righthander pitched a no-hitter and struck out 10 batters in an abbreviated 11-0 CCC victory against visiting Lexington.
“I wasn’t even thinking no-hitter until the fifth inning,” Friedrich said after third-place Salisbury (9-7 overall) improved to 5-1 in conference play. “But it’s easy to pitch when your team puts up 11 (runs) in the first inning.”
That’s right. Salisbury jumped on Lexington starter Logan Wicks and reliever Ray Cuanas for 11 runs in the bottom of the first, then watched Friedrich (4-1) put it on cruise control. In five innings he faced only 17 batters, threw first-pitch strikes to 12 of them and never allowed a ball to leave the infield — save for a third-inning popup snagged by infielder Alex Yang in shallow right field.
“He came in with confidence and threw some dominant pitches,” said SHS catcher Skyler Mikkelson. “We all knew he was throwing a good game, so we didn’t want to say anything. But he was pretty clean out there.”
Friedrich, who will attend Appalachian State as a business major in the fall, was nearly spotless. Using a biting fastball, slow-bending curve and an occasional changeup, he kept Lexington (2-10, 0-6) grounded. Only one baserunner — Jalain Charles in the top of the first — reached third base. Friedrich responded by retiring 12 of the next 13 hitters.
“The no-hitter is impressive,” Salisbury coach Scott Maddox said. “But he’s now gone 18 innings without giving up an earned run. I think he’s given up six hits in that stretch.”
If anything, Friedrich’s only flaw this season has been his mental fortitude. “He’s always let like an error or a call at the plate that he didn’t agree with bother him,” Maddox explained.
Friedrich provided a good example after completing his five-inning gem. “I don’t feel like it’s a big deal,” he said. “It’s just a win — and these are games we have to win. I’m actually kind of mad that I walked two guys and hit someone on a 3-2 pitch in the last inning.”
Losing coach Rob Linder sounded like he was reading from a script after Lexington was blanked. “It’s not the first time,” he said. “We’re just not a good-hitting team right now. And (Friedrich) hit his spots, mixed it up well and kept us off-balance.”
Salisbury provided plenty of support, scoring six first-inning runs with one away and five more after two men had been retired. First-baseman Chace Bowden had a two hits and three RBIs in the inning. Ryan Jones, who pitched a no-hitter for the Hornets last season, made it 2-0 with a knuckleball line-drive triple that sailed over the left-fielder’s head. And Friedrich himself delivered a two-run single to left that gave SHS a 5-0 lead.
Cuanas played the role of fireman but added fuel to the blaze when he surrendered two-run singles to Bowden and Parker McKeithan.
“We did all we could do to win,” said Yang, the freshman second-baseman. “We hit the ball, played good defense and our pitcher threw a no-hitter. I’ll remember this for a long time.”
Hopefully, so will Friedrich. “It really can’t get much better than this,” he said.