Towson ace Gardner can't come up with 4 of a kind

Liberty's Sartain gets no-hitter of his own

May 10, 2000|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The previous three times Andre Gardner had started on the mound for the Towson Generals, he threw a no-hitter, but he didn't get another one yesterday in Towson.

The other pitcher did.

After throwing three straight no-hitters and setting a Maryland public school record of 20 consecutive no-hit innings, Gardner saw his string ended by No.7 Liberty and senior Perry Sartain, who pitched a no-hitter of his own in an 11-2 romp.

Gardner had matched the state public school record of three consecutive no-hitters by Poly's Dustin Jones in 1995. The latter's streak came in two, five-inning games and a six-inning game for a total of 16 straight no-hit innings in three starts that were never reported to the state record keepers.

Jim Miller, the first batter to face Gardner (4-2) yesterday, lined a 2-1 pitch for a double down the right-field line, and Kevin Magaw followed with a triple into right-center as the Lions (16-2) scored two runs in their first at-bat.

Gardner ended the inning with a strikeout and proceeded to strike out five straight before a one-out single by Magaw (2-for-4, four runs) in the third, followed by a two-run homer by Alex Moore.

"It felt good, knowing he had thrown three no-hitters in a row," said Miller, who went with an outside fastball about belt high to take the suspense of a fourth Gardner no-hitter out of the game immediately.

"It felt really good to get up there and rip one as the first batter in the game."

Magaw said he and his Lions teammates were "pumped up a little more because of all the attention" they expected and got with TV cameras and the print media on hand.

Chasing Gardner with two outs in the third after roughing him up for eight hits, nine runs and taking advantage of three errors with him pitching, the Lions clearly outplayed coach Bill Yosca's Generals.

"I thought we played terrible, for lack of a better word, but that's not to take anything away from Liberty," Yosca said.

"They put the ball in play, and the more chances the defense has in high school ball, the more mistakes you're going to see. Their pitcher threw three pitches over the plate and had a good, live fastball."

In the first no-hitter of his three-year varsity career, Sartain (5-0) struck out 10 and walked three, with both runs by the Baltimore County 2A/1A champion Generals (13-4) unearned. The Lions committed two of their four errors in the second inning.

"I was excited, psyched up just like the rest of the guys on the team coming in here today," Sartain said.

His catcher, Dustin Lippert, said Sartain had all of his pitches working.

"He was on with his fastball, and when he gets it on, it tails like a screwball," Lippert said.

Said Liberty coach Erik Barnes: "The kids were real anxious to face Andre, but knowing they have a playoff game Friday, we weren't sure if we would see him or not."

"But they [the Lions] were hopeful he would get to pitch today. We have a lot of respect for him. He's an outstanding pitcher, but we have a fearless bunch, and they really wanted the challenge."

Barnes said that Miller and Magaw starting the game with hits "took away [Gardner's] invincibility."

It definitely took a load off Gardner's shoulders.

"Yes, it did, because I went out there trying not to think about a no-hitter and just went out there to make my pitches and try to win," a dejected Gardner said afterward.

"I'm proud of what I did and thank God above to allow me to get those three no-hitters. I'm just grateful."

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