In the eighth inning of Lipscomb’s weekend win over Kennesaw State, Bisons pitcher Brandon McClurg happened to look over at the scoreboard.
What he saw surprised him.
It read 0 hits for KSU. That meant he was two innings from a no-hitter. And in true baseball tradition, none of his teammates were mentioning that fact to him.
“I looked back later and I realized they didn’t say much to me (during the game),” McClurg said.
The junior right-hander from Hendersonville closed out his no-hitter in a 4-0 win. He struck out ten and walked only one. But it was the scene after the game that he’ll always remember.
“It was great, an awesome game,” McClurg said. “The best part was celebrating with the guys afterward on the field.”
The no-hitter brought McClurg and the Bisons program some rare national publicity. He won the Atlantic Sun Conference pitcher of the week award and he also was named one of five Louisville Slugger’s National Players of the Week. On Tuesday he was awarded the Southeast Region Performance of the Week award by InsidePitching.com.
In his last three starts, spanning 23 innings, he has posted a 0.78 ERA while recording three wins and 28 strikeouts.
McClurg’s 1.59 ERA ranks third in the Atlantic Sun and he leads the conference in opponents’ batting average, holding opposing hitters to just a .179 mark.
Lipscomb pitching coach Lantz Wheeler isn’t surprised with McClurg’s performance in 2008. Last season McClurg was often used in a relief role, but Wheeler said he knew that would change.
“With Brandon, it’s obvious he’s got four pitches he can throw at any time,” Wheeler said. “He does a great job locating his pitches. Brandon flat-out knows how to pitch.”
McClurg’s play is emblematic of Lipscomb’s upward trajectory as a program. Since head coach Jeff Forehand arrived from Trevecca two years ago, the Bisons have things looking up. Last season the Bisons took two of three games from powerhouse LSU and also beat Vanderbilt, which spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation.
This season, the Bisons are second in the Atlantic Sun with a 10-5 league record.
“Coach Forehand has turned everything around,” McClurg said. “He’s the catalyst. He’s taken the program where it needs to be.”