03/12/04 — MOC's Barham tosses no-hitter

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MOC's Barham tosses no-hitter

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 12, 2004 1:59 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- With just two starts under his belt at Mount Olive College, freshman pitcher Ryan Barham has already made history.

Barham (2-0) tossed a complete-game (seven-inning) no-hitter and was just one walk away from a perfect game on Thursday afternoon against Virginia State at Scarborough Field.

The Trojans added some balanced offense and cruised to an 8-0 win in the first game of a double-header.

It marked the first no-hit effort for the Trojans in school history, and the first of Barham's career at any level.

"I felt real relaxed. All my pitches were working in the bullpen, and I just stayed out there relaxed and threw strikes," said Barham, who struck out 11 batters. "Having a good defense is key to throwing good strikes and good pitches.

"It's awesome. This is the best feeling I've felt in a long time."

Behind another solid effort from another freshman pitcher, Charles B. Aycock graduate Phillip Pennington, Mount Olive (20-6) pulled away for an 11-3 win in the second game. Pennington (1-0) yielded three runs in the second but battled back to toss three straight perfect innings in his first career start.

"I was looking forward to it. I made a few bad pitches in the second inning, but then I settled down and hit my spots and threw it pretty good," Pennington said. "I think we can both build our confidence with experiences like this, and the guys have given us real support."

Jonathan McClellan, making his first appearance of the season, took over game two in the sixth with the Trojans ahead 6-3 and was credited with the save. All three pitchers got flawless defensive work behind them as the Trojans did not commit an error.

The two pitching efforts and the defensive work were clearly huge for Mount Olive, but the offense did its fair share of work against the visiting Trojans as well. Mount Olive pounded out 23 hits and 19 runs in the two games and has now plated a whopping 69 runs in its last five outings.

Thursday's effort proved to be balanced, especially game two, when seven different Trojans drove in a run led by Jonathan Pullen's four-RBI performance.

Jonathan Pullen went 3-for-4 with four RBI in the second game, but he was not alone as Mike Maffucci and Dustin Richardson also turned in stout efforts at the plate in both games.

Maffucci, filling in for injured first basemen Shawn Warner, finished the two-game set with five hits, including a perfect three-for-three performance in game one.

Richardson, who played all 14 innings behind the plate on Wednesday, added three hits and three RBI combined. His two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth of game one was his fourth on the season.

Craig Hurba drove in four runs on the day -- boosting his season total to 40 RBI through 26 games.

Impressive to Lancaster was his team's ability to hang in and hit slower pitching than they are accustomed to facing.

"We saw a pitcher in that second game that is really hard to hit at the college level. You don't usually see slow curve balls like that," Lancaster said. "That concerns me that we saw such slow stuff, then all of a sudden you see a real pitcher over the weekend and you can't catch up."

Pharisse Berry picked up the loss in game one for Virginia State (2-9), while left-hander Brandon Rucker pitched the full seven innings and got the loss in game two.

Barham, who through just 74 pitches in seven innings, had near-perfect accuracy with his fastball and curve through the game. Seventeen of his first 19 pitches were strikes, with his on1ly walk coming to Jonathan Greer in the top of the fifth with one out.

Bryon Baxter's deep fly out to left-center field after Greer's walk proved to be Virginia State's only legitimate scare at breaking up the no-hitter, but T.J. Fly quickly ran it down for the second out of the inning.

"We felt like coming in here that he (Barham) was going to be real good for us. We've tried to bring him on slowly and not overwhelm him," Lancaster said. "Before the season is over, if he can continue to locate his pitches like he did today we are going to put him out in more difficult situations."

Mount Olive returns to action this weekend as the Trojans travel to Gaffney, S.C., for a three-game Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference series at Limestone. The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon, then conclude the series Sunday with a single game at 1 p.m.

Game one

Va. State 000 000 0 -- 0 0 1

Mount Olive 004 301 x -- 8 11 0

Leading hitters -- Mount Olive -- Stephen Norden 2-4, RB; Craig Hurba 2-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI; Mike Maffucci 3-3; Dustin Richardson 1-3, HR, 2 RBI.


Va. State

Berry (L, 0-3) 3 6 7 7 3 1

Byron Baxter 3 5 1 0 0 3

Mount Olive

Barham (W, 2-0) 7 0 0 0 1 11

Game two

Va. State 030 000 0 -- 3 6 3

Mount Olive 200 405 x -- 11 12 0

Leading hitters -- Va. State -- Wayne Williams 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Jonathan Greer 2-3; Pharisse Berry 2-3, 2B. Mount Olive -- Jonathan Pullen 3-4, 4 RBI; Mike Maffucci 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Dustin Richardson 2-4, 2B, RBI.


Va. State

Rucker (L, 0-2) 6 12 11 11 5 8

Mount Olive

Pennington (W, 1-0) 5 4 3 3 0 6

McClellan (S, 1) 2 2 0 0 0 2