Bill Lee Greul said he had pitched better games, but he never had been so close to making history.
Cody Mattingly wanted nothing more than spoil Greul's bid.
Greul, Morrison's left-handed pitcher, stood on the pitchers mound as Bureau Valley's Mattingly stepped into the right-handed batter's box in the seventh inning Wednesday night at Ashford University Field. Greul had pitched 6 2/3 innings without allowing a hit. Mattingly wanted to change that.
"I was very nervous, but I've been hitting the ball pretty well lately," Mattingly said.
"I just tried to do my best," Greul said. "I've got a great team behind me."
This time, though, the rest of the Mustangs couldn't save their pitcher.
Mattingly stroked Greul's first pitch into center field to spoil the no-hit bid and end Greul's night on the mound. There were a couple of anxious moments after that, but Morrison hung on for a 5-2 Three Rivers Conference victory in a baseball triple-header at the minor-league park.
"I threw a fastball and hung it too much, Greul said. "He got on it and hit it great. (My emotion) went down a bit, but I kept my head up."
Although he flirted with the no-hitter, Greul's outing was nowhere near perfect. He walked eight batters, including four in the second inning when a bases-loaded free pass to Logan Marquez forced in the game's first run.
"I felt good, but in the second I couldn't find it," Greul said. "Then I found my spot."
Greul retired nine of the 10 batters he faced from the third through fifth inning — allowing a walk in the fourth — and struck out the side in the fourth and fifth.
Second baseman Alex Volckmann helped preserve the no-hitter in the sixth with a running catch in shallow right field of Keaton Wagenknecht's soft pop fly.
Greul opened the seventh retiring Marquez with his 11th strikeout, then issued his eighth walk, to Treven Kennedy. Ethan Ringle followed with a high chopper in front of the plate, with Greul making the throw to first for the easy out that left him one out from making history.
It brought Mattingly, the Storm's No. 3 batter, to the plate.
"I really wanted to hit that ball," Mattingly said, adding that he was looking for a fastball from Greul. "I had it in my head to hit that ball, and I did."
Mattingly's hit scored Kennedy with the Storm's second run. Alex Fischbach replaced Greul on the mound, but a double error on shortstop Danny Willis put runners on second and third with the tying run at the plate.
Ryan Carlson followed with a hot smash to Greul at first base. The ball skipped off Greul's glove, but he tracked it down, sprinted to first base, dived and tagged the bag just ahead of Carlson's arrival.
"I kept my confidence up," Greul said. "I know I missed it, but I hustled as hard as I could and got there."
The Mustangs also were opportunistic at the plate. Only two of their runs had RBIs, as two scored on wild pitches and another on a balk.
Morrison tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Andy Schaver led off with a seeing-eye single to left field. After Jacob Tegeler walked with one out, Schaver and courtesy runner Riley Coffey pulled off a double steal, then Schaver scored on a two-out wild pitch by Ethan Ringle.
The Storm suffered a major defensive letdown the following inning.
Danny Willis led off with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on Volckmann's grounder to second, which was misplayed for an error. Blake Blean followed with a grounder to shortstop, but McKinley Kruger's throw to second was off the mark. The Mustangs worked another double steal, then Volckmann scored the third run of the frame on a wild pitch.
Blean drove in Morrison's final run with a sinlge in the sixth.
"We had good pitching tonight," Mattingly said. "Just a few errors cost us the game."
And some effectively wild pitching from Greul.
MORRISON 5, BUREAU VALLEY 2