McCade Brown walked the second batter he faced on five pitches, then delivered four straight out-of-the-zone offerings to the third. From there? Well. He merely turned in one of the best pitching performances in Indiana program history.
The Hoosier right-hander tied the IU record with 16 strikeouts over seven no-hit innings in IU’s 8-0 win over Penn State in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Bart Kaufman Field.
Brown struck out seven in a row between the second and fourth innings, using his mix of mid-90s fastballs and edge-of-your-seat breaking balls to toy with the Nittany Lions. I mean, just look at this thing:
M7 | Sweet 16. That ties the #IUBase strikeout record.@McCade_Brown | #IUBase pic.twitter.com/zHDHjhoASE— Indiana Baseball (@IndianaBase) March 13, 2021
The 16 punch outs tie him atop IU’s single-game leaderboard with Brad Edwards, who had himself a day against Quinnipiac on March 17, 2000. They also mark the most by an Indiana pitcher in a Big Ten game, besting the 13 K’s produced by Andrew Saalfrank against Penn State on April 6, 2019.
Should pitching coach Justin Parker — who’s doubling as IU’s head coach during Jeff Mercer’s mandatory 10-day quarantine — have allowed Brown to keep rolling with the no-hitter? Ehhh. It’s only Brown’s second game after a funky off-season, and he was already at 101 pitches after seven frames. Feels like the correct call. Mercer said on Thursday that he went into last weekend’s season-opening pod in Minneapolis with a 90-to-100-pitch limit for Brown. So there you go.
Regardless of where you land in that debate, we can all agree that Brown’s starts are now appointment-worthy outings each weekend from now through June. Through two games, Brown has totaled 28 strikeouts and walked just the two batters through 14 innings. Opponents are hitting just .068, and his ERA stands at 0.64. Yeah, the 6-foot-6 Illinois native is a legit prospect, who’s putting it all together after a couple years of intrigue.
He’ll get the ball again next weekend during a three-game home series against Purdue.
By the way, Indiana swept Saturday’s doubleheader, taking the first game, 7-2, in seven innings. We’ll recap the series at the end of the weekend.