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ASU Baseball: Ryan Hingst hurls no-hitter as Sun Devils down Utah

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Sophomore Ryan Hingst threw Arizona State's 10th no-hitter in program history on Friday night, leading his team to a 5-0 victory over the Utes.

Blake Bernard
Blake Bernard

The game came to an end with a 3-2 fastball hit to shallow center field by Utah third baseman Dallas Carroll.

The ball hung up in the air for five seconds, which was more than enough time for Arizona State outfielder Andrew Shaps to camp underneath it, squeeze the ball into his glove, and put a bow on one of the best pitched games in baseball history.

There have been a lot of college baseball games played since the first ever one was contested back in 1859, and a very small percentage of them have ended with a no-hitter. Arizona State's Ryan Hingst joined that illustrious fraternity of no-no's on Friday, throwing nine innings without a single hit allowed in any of them.

The performance led to a 5-0 victory for the Sun Devils (14-8, 1-4 Pac-12), their first win since back on March 13 against UC Davis.

"I am on cloud nine right now," said Hingst after the game. "I don't even know how to put it into words."

The sophomore certainly made the most of his first start of the season, to say the least. There weren't many instances of brilliant defensive play or lucky bounces - Hingst just simply controlled the game from start to finish. He struck out nine Utes in nine innings, while also carefully walking three.

Nothing seemed to bother him, although there were plenty of instances when the dream night could have come undone.

Utah's DaShawn Keirsey Jr. attempted to bunt for the first hit of the night to leadoff the eighth inning, but Hingst was able to send the batter back to the dugout with a strikeout later in the at-bat.

He hit a man in the fourth frame, and accidentally threw behind another in the fifth, but managed to get out of both innings without the Utes moving a runner into scoring position. The most precarious plate appearance came in that fifth inning, when Max Schuman fought off pitch after pitch thrown from Hingst.

The right-hander eventually walked Schuman after 14 pitches, but a pop out and a full count strikeout got Hingst out of the jam with the no-hitter still intact.

"The only thing I was thinking is that every time those balls went into the stands, that's $6.65 per ball," deadpanned head coach Tracy Smith after the win. "I kept seeing seven or eight of those balls go up there, and that's honestly what I was thinking."

Arizona State held a 2-0 lead at that point, and that lead was stretched to 5-0 after a three-run outburst in the sixth inning. Ryan Lillard, David Greer, and Colby Woodmansee all picked up RBIs to extend the advantage, and at that point the only thing on everyone's mind was Hingst's ongoing heroics.

Despite a 30 minute wait between pitches, the righty returned to the mound as strong as ever. The visitors from Salt Lake City did not reach base in the seventh, and that trend continued through the end of the evening.

As is typical for pitchers working on a perfect game or no-hitter, distractions in the dugout were not a problem for Hingst as he was waiting between innings.

"No, and they would have been dismissed if they did," Smith said when asked if anyone tried to talk to Hingst during the game.

The Utes' best shot at breaking up the no-no came in the eighth, when nine-hole hitter AJ Young tagged a ball to deep center field. Shaps got a tremendous jump, however, and was able to make a catch just shy of the warning track.

The ninth inning contained very little drama, and that was just fine for Hingst and company. Working as quickly as he had all night, he retired the top of Utah's batting order in 1-2-3 fashion to cap the 10th no-hitter in school history.

Despite throwing 121 pitches in his first start of the year, Hingst remarked after the game that his arm felt great.

"121 (pitches) is what we set it at," joked Smith. "Thank God he got him on that last pitch, because we were going to take him out."

That last pitch set off a wild celebration next to the pitcher's mound, where Hingst was immediately mobbed by his teammates. It was then time to call his parents, where the pitcher ran into his first real problem of the night.

"My mom was the first person I called after the game and she didn't even pick up," Hingst said.

The no-hitter ended two weeks of discontent and frustration for Arizona State, which had dropped five straight games heading into today's contest.

What lies ahead for this ball club still remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain; it will be tough to top what everyone at Phoenix Municipal Stadium saw on Friday.