Mitchell left-hander Patrick Schuster has pulled off the unthinkable — in triplicate.
A 6-foot-2 University of Florida signee, Schuster tossed his third consecutive no-hitter Monday night, striking out 16 Clearwater Central Catholic batters in a 2-0 home triumph. It's not immediately known if the feat sets any type of state record.
"I tell you what, he's just in a zone right now," Mustangs coach Scot Wilcox said. "It's like business. He went to work. There were a lot of scouts there and a lot of anticipation and he lived up to it."
Before a litany of radar guns, Schuster opened the game by hitting the Marauders' leadoff batter in the shoulder. From there, only two errors separated him from a perfect outing as the projected early-round big league draft choice threw his breaking pitches for strikes and kept his fastball hovering around 90 mph.
He finished with 80 pitches, Wilcox said, walking none.
"It's great," Schuster said by cell phone from a local Beef O'Brady's, his typical postgame hangout. "I can't think of a more perfect time for this. There were 15-20 scouts there and most of them were bosses of guys watching me. I'm having a blast right now."
Schuster (8-0, 0.66 ERA) began his unconscious stretch with a 17-strikeout, seven-inning no-hitter in a 2-1 win at Land O'Lakes on April 3. Five days later, he fanned 10 in a five-inning, 10-0 triumph at River Ridge.
"It felt like a heavy bullpen when I threw (at River Ridge)," said Schuster, hindered by flu-like symptoms earlier in the season. "I got my arm back in shape from feeling sick all that time. I'm finally feeling up to my level. I was throwing everything for strikes (Monday)."
Schuster goes for his fourth consecutive no-no at home against Pasco on April 20.
"It's something that we're conscious of now when he starts," Wilcox said. "It's not every day you see a kid throw three no-hitters in a row. There was a lot of anticipation and we expect Patrick not to give up many hits anyway."