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History was made Sunday on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field where freshman pitcher Juaron Watts-Brown threw the Long Beach State Dirtbags’ first ever complete game no-hitter as they beat visiting UC Riverside 4-0.
“It’s surreal and crazy that it’s on Mother’s Day,” Watts-Brown said after accomplishing the feat with his parents in the stands
The only other no-hitter in Dirtbags history is a combined no-hitter that was tossed by future MLB Draft picks Chris Mathewson and Darren McCaughan on March 1, 2015.
“This is a great place to make your own history because of the guys who have already made their history here,” Watts-Brown said. “You come to this school where guys have been amazing and have had amazing MLB careers. To be able to put your name in the books along with those guys feels really special.”
Watts-Brown struck out 16 batters as well, which was just one short of the all-time program record for a single game set by Jered Weaver in 2004.
“He deserves success that’s for sure,” Dirtbags coach Eric Valenzuela said. “If there is anybody who was going to do that it was going to be him because of his talent, his work ethic and just the type of person he is.”
The one walk issued by Watts-Brown in the fourth inning was the only thing that kept him from a perfect game.
“I knew what was going on and when I gave up the walk I was very upset,” Watts-Brown said. “It was about staying within myself and not letting the moment get too big. For sure on the last pitch I threw my heart was going… but I knew I could do this. I feel like I have the pitches to get batters out, so I just have to stay out of my mental and just pitch.”
Watts-Brown has now racked up 26 strikeouts in his last 15 innings.
“I felt like as the game went on I could control my off speed pitches more and more, and the fast ball was there the whole time,” he said.
Chase Luttrell’s two-RBI double in the bottom of the first inning gave Watts-Brown the only runs he needed. The Dirtbags added two more runs in the sixth on a Tyler White bases loaded walk and Eddie Saldivar sacrifice fly.
“Defensively and offensively, the team was really there for me today and I’m really glad I was able to be there for them as well,” Watts-Brown said.
The Dirtbags have won four straight games and six of their last seven. They also now have 17 consecutive wins over UC Riverside after sweeping the Highlanders this weekend.
LBSU (21-25, 10-11) play their final midweek game of the season next week by hosting USC.