WVU’s Nick Snyder Goes The Distance In No-Hit Bid
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU lefthander Nick Snyder hadn’t gone more than six innings in any of his previous 11 appearances on the mound for West Virginia this season. He had only thrown more than 86 pitches once — that number being 103 in a six-inning start against Morehead State back on March 12. While he had been very effective for the Mountaineers, compiling a 5-1 record and a 2.45 ERA to that point, none of those showing portended the nine-inning, 127-pitch masterpiece he tossed against Marshall on Tuesday evening at Monongalia County Ballpark.
“I’m not really sure what the plan was going in, but I knew if I kept putting up the zeroes I wouldn’t be taken out,” said Snyder, who came within one strike of a no-hitter before settling for a complete-game, one-hit, shutout victory over the Herd.
Even with the relatively high pitch count — something that isn’t as much of a concern in college, where starters typically go only once in seven days — Snyder was strong throughout. He shut down the Herd 1-2-3 on 16 pitches in the seventh inning, including two strikeouts, and duplicated the feat in the eight on just 12 pitches.
“I was locating the ball down in the zone pretty consistently,” Snyder said, understating the effectiveness of his fastball and slider pairing. “I had good movement on my slider today.”
“That’s some ridiculous stuff out there,” head coach Randy Mazey confirmed. “He’s throwing 92, 93 miles an hour. He’s 6-7. The hitters can’t see it. They feel like he’s letting it go right on top of home plate.”
Snyder, who has thrown two seven-inning no-hitters in high school, thought he had another one when Herd leadoff hitter Erik Rodriguez chopped a ball up the middle on an 0-2 count with two outs in the ninth.
“It kind of happened quickly. I kind of did a celebration,” he said of his initial reaction to the grounder. “I raised my arms, and then he was safe. I was like, ‘Dang it.’”
While the no-no went by the boards, there was still plenty to celebrate. He recorded 16 strikeouts on the evening, topping Alek Manoah’s previous season best of 15. He now has 25 strikeouts against just three walks in his last 16.1 innings, and lowered his ERA by a full half-run to 1.93. He also dropped his WHIP to a stellar 0.98.
Other than losing the no-hitter, the only negative on the evening for Snyder was receiving a faceful of yogurt from teammate Alek Manoah during postgame interviews. Manoah had gotten similar treatment after his outstanding game against Kansas earlier in the month.
“I don’t eat yogurt,” Snyder deadpanned.
If it would guarantee a repeat performance, though, he might learn to like it.