Quinnipiac pitcher Kyle Birdsall threw the first no-hitter in program history, striking out a career-high 12. He was perfect through five innings, but ran into some trouble in the sixth. Birdsall got two quick outs but then walked a batter and hit the next. But Birdsall escaped, getting the next batter to fly out to right field. He cruised through the seventh to complete the no-no. With his second complete game of the season, he improved to 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA.
With the no-hitter, Birdsall was named the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper/Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and the Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Week. Birdsall will have an autographed hat, ball and program sent to the College Baseball Hall of Fame and they will be displayed at the College World Series.
Q&A with Birdsall
Do you think those nerves got to you in the sixth inning?
They definitely got to me in the sixth inning. I actually ran in and went to the bathroom in the sixth inning because I was so nervous. After that I felt relieved, losing the perfect game.
There’s the superstition that if a guy is throwing a no-hitter you leave them alone in the dugout. Did the guys treat you like that?
A little bit, but I’m really not superstitious. No one really did talk to me so I was by myself.
Did this start feel different from any previous starts this year?
In the bullpen it didn’t feel any different. When I got on the mound it felt like I had control of every pitch I was throwing. It was a good feeling.
Would you say that this was the best stuff you’ve had?
Yeah, definitely. I was able to throw four pitches pretty much exactly where I wanted to.
Was there one pitch that you knew you could go to at any point?
They were pretty much all working. The slider was kind of the go-to with two strikes.
How important was Nisson behind the plate?
He was great. We were on the same page the entire day. He’s been catching me for the last two years so we’re always into a pretty good grove. But this last start it seemed a little different.
Q&A with Birdsall’s catcher Kyle Nisson
Did you have nerves behind the plate in the seventh inning?
I was nervous just because I didn’t want to call the wrong pitch or do something that would cause an extra at-bat. But I knew he wasn’t going to allow that to happen just because of the way he was throwing.
How did you feel after the game ended?
My heart was racing. I jumped up, ran up, gave him a hug and realized that our other teammates were just jumping around. I kind of blacked out. It was pretty crazy.
Do you take any pride in catching a no-hitter?
Maybe a little bit. I’m just catching the pitches. He’s throwing them where my glove is. He’s making me look good.
Photo credit: Matt Eisenberg