CEDAR RAPIDS — Originally it was supposed to be kind of a staff game, but Austin Schulfer changed that pretty quickly.
“The plan was only two or three innings,” the Cedar Rapids Kernels pitcher said, after he combined with Jose Martinez on a seven-inning no-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon against Burlington at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “But when you feel good and get quick outs, you can go longer.”
Like five innings long, as it turned out here. The right-hander retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced, the only blemish a one-out walk in the top of the first.
That would turn out to be the only Burlington baserunner, as Martinez retired all six guys he saw, and the Kernels took home a 9-0 win and their 15th modern-day no-no. Burlington won the first game with a run in the seventh inning, 5-4.
“It definitely does mean something,” said Schulfer. “You’re going against professional bats. So, I mean, no matter if it’s little league, high school, college, a no-hitter is very rare. I’m happy and proud to be a part of it with Jose and (catcher) Chris (Williams) and everybody who made plays behind us. Obviously it’s not a one-man show. It’s very special.”
Schulfer is a 23-year-old right-hander from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who has been primarily a long reliever/spot starter so far this Midwest League season. He has good stuff: a fastball that registered 93-94 miles per hour regularly in this game, as well as a slider, changeup and curveball.
He already has six decisions (a 4-2 record) and dropped his earned run average to 2.41 with this gem.
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“When he gets that sinker/slider going and is able to throw strikes with it, he’s pretty good,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman.
Cedar Rapids (22-24) got a three-run home run from Williams and two hits each in Game 2 from Yeltsin Encarnacion, Jared Akins and Jacob Pearson. Jean Carlos Arias had a three-run home run in the opener for the Kernels.
The teams complete their four-game series Thursday night at 6:35.
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