The Arkansas baseball program will be getting some kind of pitcher when Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.) lefty Patrick Wicklander arrives in Fayetteville next school year.
The jury is still out as to whether he will allow a hit between now and then. It’s been that kind of a week for the highly-touted southpaw on the team ranked No. 6 in the latest Super 25 Expert Rankings.
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On Tuesday, Wicklander struck out 18 and walked just one while throwing a no-hitter in a 7-0 win over San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan. Along the way, he collected his 300th career strikeout.
“In the bullpen, I just felt like I really had my fastball,” Wicklander told the Mercury News on Tuesday’s bus ride back to San Jose. “I knew where everything else was going, too. The conditions were really misty, with the wind blowing in. I got ahead with my fastball and worked from there.”
His previous outing? That would be last week against Servite (Anaheim) at the Hard 9 National Classic in Fullerton, where Wicklander threw 5 2/3 no-hit innings in a 4-2 victory.
That’s 12 2/3 straight innings of no-hit ball.
“It was pretty impressive,” longtime Valley Christian coach John Diatte told the Mercury News after his team improved to 17-1-1. “The weather helped a little bit, at least helped him. It wasn’t hitting weather at the beginning of the game. It was misty and cold. He had his best fastball. So those two things combined for it’s going to be a good day for Pat.
“It was a special day for him, for sure. I’d like to say the other guys helped. But they didn’t really do much.”
That is of course because 18 of the 21 outs were Ks.
“I had 17 going into the seventh inning and everyone was telling me, ‘Oh, you’ll get 20,’” Wicklander said. “I just went out and had the same approach I had throughout the whole game — get ahead with my fastball. The first two guys popped it up. Then the last guy I get 2-2 and then threw a fastball for a swing and miss. Strike three.”
As for that 17-1-1 record, the Mercury News reports that the tie came against Elk Grove on a day in which Wicklander pitched eight innings of no-hit ball and struck out 12, a career best that has now obviously been bested. The game eventually was called after 10 innings, tied 0-0.
As for Wicklander, the next hit (or even the next ball in play) he allows will be news.