Ohio State’s Alex Wimmers No-Hits Michigan
(With the end of the year fast approaching, we’re counting down some of the top moments from the 2009 college baseball season. We’ll have one a day through New Year’s Eve.)
There was a time when Bob Todd’s Ohio State baseball team owned Michigan, and it wasn’t even close. From 1988 (Todd’s first season in Columbus) through 2002 the Buckeyes either won or tied 13 of 15 series against their hated rival, but the tide had turned in recent years.
From 2003-2008 Michigan owned Ohio State, and it wasn’t even close. Since Rich Maloney had taken over in Arbor in 2003, the Wolverines had won 18 of 24 head-to-head games vs. OSU (including Big Ten Tournament games). The 2008 series at Michigan was particulaly lopsided, with Michigan winning 3 of 4 games in the series by a combined 27-to-6.
That’s what Ohio State’s Alex Wimmers faced when he toed the rubber on May 2, 2009 when he and the Buckeyes hosted Michigan in the opener of their 3-game series at Bill Davis Stadium.
Wimmers came into the game with a 7-1 record and proceeded to toss the first 9-inning no-hitter in school history in a 6-0 win over his team’s biggest rival. The win keyed a doubleheader sweep to help Ohio State win a series over
Michigan for the first time since 2002.
As a freshman reliever in 2008, Wimmers had pitched just 2/3 of an inning in the Michigan series while his team was bludgeoned by Wolverine batters. However, he would do his own bludgeoning with 14 strikeouts and four walks in the crucial victory. Three of the walks were erased by an old friend. Wimmers’ battery mate, Dan Burkhart, threw out all three Wolverines who attempted a stolen base. Burkhart and Wimmers had been teammates both in high school and back to their Little League days.
Michigan’s starting pitcher that day, Chris Fetter, was no slouch himself. Fetter was a second team All-American in 2008, and he was named first team All-Big Ten in 2009.
Wimmers’ no-hitter came in the 250th all-time meeting between Ohio State and Michigan since the teams first played in 1895. Wolverine head coach Rich Maloney made sure to find Wimmers after the series finale to congratulate him
Wimmers spoke with Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires right after his no-hitter. Click the play button to listen to the exclusive podcast interview.
Wimmers finished the season with a 9-2 record, 3.27 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 104 2/3 IP. He was named Co-Big 10 Pitcher of the Year (along with Indiana’s Eric Arnett) and was named to four All-American Teams.
Burkhart was named Big Ten Player of the Year and was a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award.
Todd was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Ohio State finished the season with a 42-19 overall record, a Big Ten regular season championship and an NCAA Regional berth. Michigan missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
The tide had turned.
Other Top Moments Of 2009