PUNTA GORDA, Fla. –– Riley Johnson tossed the first solo no-hitter of the 2018 college baseball season as the North Dakota State University baseball team posted a 2-0 shutout victory over Central Connecticut State Friday, Feb. 23, at South County Regional Park in the opening game of the Snowbird Baseball Classic.
A sophomore right-hander from Apple Valley, Minn., Johnson became the first Bison to throw a solo no-hitter since Jay Mitchell accomplished the feat against Augustana (S.D.) during the 2004 season. Former NDSU baseball players Chad Berg and Chris Paterson pitched a combined no-hitter at Creighton in 2008.
Johnson struck out a career-high eight batters and tallied just one walk in his nine no-hit innings, improving to 2-0 on the season.
NO-NO ALERT @NDSUbaseball Riley Johnson pitches the first Solo No-Hitter of the 2018 Season!— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) February 23, 2018
The Bison (3-2) and Blue Devils (0-1) were locked in a pitching battle until Drew Fearing broke through for NDSU in the bottom of the third inning.
Matt Elsenpeter reached on an error with one out in the inning and advanced to second on a walk issued to Alec Abercrombie. Fearing scored Elsenpeter on a two-out RBI single, giving North Dakota State a 1-0 lead.
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NDSU doubled its advantage to 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth when Elsenpeter worked a bases loaded walk, plating Jayse McLean.
Johnson capped-off the game with a strikeout, foul out and ground out, sealing the win for the Bison.
Oh NO you didn’t!— NDSU Athletics (@NDSUathletics) February 23, 2018
Riley Johnson of NDSU tosses first no-hitter in Division I this season in 2-0 Bison victory over CCSU.
Johnson K’d eight as Bison improve to 3-2 on the season. #HornsUp #BisonPride pic.twitter.com/J7lQ5zdT3J
The victory marked the 250th career win for 11th season NDSU head coach Tod Brown.
North Dakota State is scheduled to face Central Connecticut State in Game 2 of the three-game series Saturday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. ET at North Charlotte Regional Park in Port Charlotte, Fla.