Herald Staff Report
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON — At least one thing was better the second time Fulton pitcher Ethan Jones held an opponent hitless this spring: The Steamers won.
Ten days after throwing 8 1/3 no-hit innings against Morrison — the Mustangs won 1-0 despite not getting a hit — Jones held Sterling Newman hitless in a 10-0 Three Rivers Conference baseball win Monday at Drives Park.
"Actually, I felt better playing against Morrison than tonight, but this one felt a lot better because we won," Jones, a junior right-hander said. "I felt I hit my spots well, but our defense was really good tonight."
The defense stepped up when Jones needed it most, coach Jayme Farrell said.
"There was one hit in the second inning where their guy hit it hard down the right-field line, but first baseman Cody Huff caught the line drive and doubled off the runner," Farrell said. "That's the only one I remember that was close to a hit."
This time, Jones got plenty of run support.
The Steamers gave their pitcher a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
"Those runs are like a big confidence booster," Jones said. "When we played Morrison, I knew I couldn't give up a run because it would hurt us bad. I knew if I gave up a run tonight we'd pick it up."
Collin Ticher, who reached base four times and scored three runs, led off the Fulton first with a walk. Matt Dail followed with the first of his three singles, advancing Tichler to second. Jones followed with a fielder's choice that left runners on the corners.
A single to center field by Austin Manon scored Tichler and moved to Jones to third. Manon stole second, and Jones scored on the throw. One out after taking third on a wild pitch, Manon scored on a single to right field by Huff.
"I'm more happy with the approach at the plate today," Farrell said. "We were a lot more confident. It started with Warren (a team Fulton split with Saturday). Hitting is a contagious thing."
Newman never got anything going at the plate.
"He didn't have his good stuff today, but he battled through and we played good defense behind him," Farrell said. "He does a really good job of hitting spots. He knows the game of baseball well. He has a nice little curve and adds a knuckleball to his repertoire to keep teams off balance."
Jones, who even hit an RBI double in the game, said he was aware he was pitching a no-hitter on both occasions.
"I didn't want to say anything," he said. "When somebody says something, you get jinxes in the back of your mind.
"I was not thinking about the no-hitter, just thinking about making pitches and our guys making routine plays."
But the biggest part had nothing to do with what happened when the Steamers were on the field. The key was they gave Jones some offensive support this time.
FULTON 10, STERLING NEWMAN 0 (5 INN.)
Newman 000 00 — 0 0 3
Fulton 351 1x — 10 9 1
Ethan Jones (5 ip, 0 h, 0 r). Multiple hits — Fulton (Matt Dail 3, Cody Huff 2). 2B — Fulton (Colin Tichler, E. Jones). RBIs — Fulton (E. Jones, Austin Manon 2, Huff, Seth Sanderson 2).