McCade Brown walked one in the first, loaded the bases in the second, put two on in the third, walked another in the fourth, then left the game after retiring the side in order for the first time Saturday night in the fifth.
It wasn’t the cleanest start of Brown’s career but, coupled with Braydon Tucker’s shutdown four-inning relief effort, it was enough to make Indiana history. Brown and Tucker combined for the Hoosiers’ first no-hitter in nearly 37 years, blanking Illinois in a wet, 8-0 win at Bart Kaufman Field.
Brown battled through issues with spotty command, working around seven walks to keep Illini hitters from finding holes in the defense behind him. Although the baseball didn’t always go where he needed it to land, Brown was able to reach back and rely on his pure stuff when he needed it most. After issuing a walk on a full count to the second batter of the game, Brown struck out the next two batters to get out of the first. He made two quick pitches to escape a bases-loaded jam of his own creation in the second, then got back-to-back punchouts to strand two runners in the third.
All told, Brown finished with nine strikeouts.
Tucker was more efficient in preserving the performance that Brown started. The right-hander threw 34 of his 54 pitches for strikes, yielding just one walk over the final four frames to post IU’s first no-no since Mark Gramer blanked Rose-Hulman in the second game of a doubleheader on April 25, 1984. Tucker also induced seven groundouts, including a double play to end the ballgame.
For IU, it was the team’s second shutout of the season. And, as important as anything else, the victory secured a much-needed series win for the Hoosiers. We’ll dive into the details from the rest of the series after it wraps on Sunday afternoon.