MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite having a couple of lackluster outings to start the season, West Virginia freshman pitcher Tyler Strechay was not going to change his approach to pitching.
Strechay says he has to remember to not try to do too much and just needs to focus on executing each pitch. He was laser-focused Wednesday evening against Kent State when he pitched five perfect innings en route to the Mountaineers no-hitting the Golden Flashes.
Strechay said he focused more on throwing fastballs for strikes instead of relying on his breaking pitches.
“I really just came out and tried to pound the zone early,” Strechay said. “Earlier in the year I was trying to work more slider/changeup, today I was sticking fastballs and the defense just played really good tonight.”
WVU coach Randy Mazey said fastball command is a point of emphasis for the entire team this season.
“I tell these guys all the time, ‘it doesn’t matter how good your curveball is or how good your changeup is, pitching always comes back to your fastball’,” Mazey said. “If you can command your fastball and keep it out of the middle of the plate and throw strikes with it, you’ll always have success.”
Before Wednesday Strechay had not had a clean outing yet this season. He had allowed runs in all three of his appearances thus far. Mazey said he was never going to give up on him, because of how hard Strechay works.
“(Strechay) deserves all the success he gets,” Mazey said. “He sleeps right, he eats right, he does well in school, he’s one of our hardest workers, he deserves to have success and the game knows. The game always knows how hard you work at it so if you do things right you’ll get rewarded for it and that’s what happened tonight.”
“If you’re a young kid that wants to learn how to pitch, tonight’s the night to be here because he showed people how to pitch,” Mazey said. “Strechay went out there and dominated the game with his fastball.”
Strechay said he was thinking about being perfect when he went out for his final inning in the fifth, but he knew getting the win was most important.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t (think about it),” Strechay said. “I think every pitcher does. I just try to go out and play my game. If they got a hit it wasn’t the end of the world.”
After Strechay’s five perfect innings, senior Dillon Meadows turned in two scoreless innings of his own. Meadows walked a batter in both the sixth and seventh, ending the perfect game, but did not allow any hits.
Freshman Skylar Gonzalez pitched a clean eighth and fellow freshman Jacob Watters capped the no-hitter despite allowing a couple of baserunners in the ninth.
It was the first no-hitter for West Virginia since Josh Whitlock threw one against Coppin State on April 3, 2007.