February 13, 2015
Phoenix, Ariz. -- Jason Karkenny isn't the next Johnny Vander Meer but on Friday afternoon he proved once again he's a very good pitcher, perhaps the ace of The Master's College staff.
One week removed from his perfect game, the sophomore righthander was just superb against Arizona Christian, hurling the 20th-ranked Mustangs to a 4-1 victory, their 10th in a row overall (11-2) and eighth straight in GSAC play (8-2).
The victory kept the Mustangs tied with No. 18 Concordia for first place in the GSAC.
It didn't take long for Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) to lose a shot at equaling Vander Meer's remarkable feat of back-to-back no-hitters in 1938 for the Cincinnati Reds when the Firestorm rapped out two singles in the bottom of a scoreless first inning.
Karkenny (3-1) escaped that jam and then his teammates made him a winner with two runs in the top of the second. With one out, John Brazil (Potter Valley, CA) singled and raced to third base on Josh Brown's (Valencia, CA) base hit. Caleb Halverson (Temple City, CA) then stepped up and drove in Brazil with another single, and Brown scored moments later on Sam Robison's (San Juan Capistrano, CA) fielder's choice.
Following Karkenny's shutdown second inning, the Mustangs increased their lead to 3-0 in the top of the third when Nick Covello (Skillman, NJ) laced a leadoff single, stole second base, and scored two outs later on David Sheaffer's (Mt. Airy, NC) single, the first of three straight basehits by the redshirt freshman catcher.
Two innings later, the Mustangs tacked on their final run of the game. Collin Nyenhuis (Vista, CA) led off with a single, was sacrificed to second base by Tyler Krahn (Abbotsford, BC, Canada), and scored on another Sheaffer single.
That was plenty for Karkenny to work with as the righthander rolled through the sixth inning, retiring 10 batters in a row in one span.
The Firestorm finally broke through in the seventh, using a walk, a single, a balk, and a sacrifice fly to snap Karkenny's scoreless-innings streak at 20 2/3 innings, slicing the deficit to 4-1.
The hosts wouldn't get any more as Karkenny pitched a perfect eighth to complete his afternoon and then watched as his older brother, Steve, had to bail out the club in the last of the ninth.
The Firestorm loaded the bases with no outs on consecutive singles and a walk off Aaron Alexander (Concord, CA). That demanded a call to the bullpen, er, left field, and Steve Karkenny entered to face the potential winning run. The club's closer promptly struck out the first batter he faced, induced a fielder's s choice out at the plate, and closed out the victory with another strikeout that handed him his GSAC-best fifth save of the campaign.
Sheaffer's three hits paced the club's 13-hit attack while Steve Karkenny, Brazil, and Nyenhuis collected two apiece.
The Mustangs hope for the same formula of stingy pitching and productive offense when they square off with the Firestorm in a doubleheader Saturday.