Fontanez no-hits Irish 4-0 in Big East opener
How's this for starting the Big East season with a bang: USF ace Randy Fontanez threw just the third no-hitter in Bulls baseball history on Friday night, leading the Bulls to a 4-0 win against Notre Dame.
Fontanez's gem is the first by a Bulls pitcher in 18 years, since Mark Reed threw the program's only perfect game in 1992. He struck out a career-high 12 batters while walking only two and facing 31 batters, four over the minimum.
Fontanez, a junior right-hander from Oviedo who was picked as the Big East Preseason Pitcher of the Year, had opened the season 0-4 with a 4.28 ERA, with the Bulls scoring two runs or less in three of his four losses.
The Bulls (9-13), who have won six of their last seven games, got their offense from the bottom of the lineup, as the 7-8-9 hitters combined for five hits, including two each from Daniel Rockhold and Chad Taylor. Rockhold and Jonathan Koscso hit solo home runs for USF.
The no-hitter is only the eighth ever in a Big East game and the first since St. John's pitcher Scott Barnes no-hit Georgetown in 2007. Nationally, college no-hitters aren't that uncommon -- there were 10 in Division I baseball last season. Perfect games are considerably scarcer, as entering this season, there hadn't been one in Division I baseball since 2002.
USF will close out the three-game series with Notre Dame with a doubleheader Saturday, with games at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.