There was a lot of bus ride to let this one sink in.
Hamilton High School graduate Taylor Hillmann made history for Edgewood College on Saturday, throwing the third no-hitter in program history and first since 2006 for the Eagles baseball team. There was only one problem: his team didn't win the game.
"I was just kind of sitting there thinking that this stinks, that we lost," he said. "But thinking about it, there have only been five games in MLB history that a pitcher lost a no-hitter, so I can't get too upset about it. It's early in the season, and I guess the only important thing is I was able to put my team in position to win the game."
Facing Bethel University in the second half of a doubleheader in Fort Myers, Fla., Hillmann navigated six innings and did not allow a walk. He did, however, hit one batter, who stole second and moved to third on a throwing error in the fifth, then scored on a sacrifice fly. Bethel won the seven-inning game, 1-0.
The senior history major at Edgewood then joined his teammates on a long overnight bus ride back to Wisconsin. Edgewood played 10 games, all in doubleheader format, over seven days in Florida. The road trip began with a March 6 game in Memphis, and the Eagles return home with a 3-8 record. Bethel won the first game between the two teams, 13-3.
"The Florida games I believe are for kind of knowing what everybody on the team is capable of doing and what they can bring to the table," Hillmann said. "Typically everybody on our roster will play, but that doesn't mean we're treating it like a preseason game. We go into every game expecting to win and expecting whoever we put out there is capable of performing at their highest level. It's nice to get down there and get a few games in before you have to play in the cold."
Hillmann, a 2010 HHS graduate, posted a 4.21 ERA in 11 games for Edgewood last year. He allowed only one earned run in 11 innings on the road trip.
"(When I started at Edgewood), I threw the ball hard but it was anybody's guess where the ball was going," he said. "Definitely in college, I improved a lot on the mechanical part of the game, decreasing my velocity to go for more accuracy and hitting my spots. I don't have a great changeup so I try to build on things like that."
Hillmann said he anticipates pursuing an education degree in Edgewood's graduate school after his May graduation.
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