Senior Nathan Wheelock tags out a Dakota State University runner at first base in Sunday’s 3-0 win in game two of a doubleheader. Wheelock retired every hitter he faced to pitch the first perfect game in Baker University baseball history. The Wildcats are 4-4 on the season and will play home games against Mount Mercy University and Trinity International University Friday and Saturday, respectively. Both doubleheaders will start at 1 p.m. at Sauder Field.
Image by Pat Howell.
On Sunday, members of the Baker University baseball team were able to experience a bit of perfection and share in school history when senior Nathan Wheelock pitched a perfect game.
After losing its opening series to Rogers State University 3-1, Baker experienced its first series win this season over Dakota State University.
“It felt amazing, especially since coming off the Rogers State series where we only came away with one win when we had a chance to take three. It definitely felt good to win three out of the four against Dakota State,” Wheelock said.
In the 3-1 series win, the team started off with two victories Saturday by edging out DSU 3-2 in game one and taking game two by the score of 7-2 to complete the sweep.
“It feels pretty good; we haven’t (taken) a series in quite a while,” junior Bryan Kindle said. “It hasn’t happened too much, but we have a pretty good team this year so there should be more to come.”
In game three of the series, Dakota State was able to shut out BU 6-0 for its only victory in the series. In game four, BU came back with a 3-0 shutout, which was highlighted by Wheelock’s perfect game. While Wheelock did not allow DSU to get a hit, walk or reach base on an error, he also added seven strikeouts to his performance.
“I really just felt like I pitched a good game. It didn’t really feel like anything else until everyone started rushing me on the mound, and that’s when it set in that it was actually a perfect game,” Wheelock said.
Kindle knew Wheelock was making history halfway through the game.
“I realized it in the fifth inning when someone came up and told me, and I just kind of told them to be quiet about it and not say anything, you don’t want to jinx it,” Kindle said.
Wheelock is the first pitcher in BU history to pitch a perfect game.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been apart of a perfect game ... actually I can’t even remember the last time I was even in a no hitter, but it’s definitely an honor to be the first one in Baker history,” Wheelock said.
Sophomore Evan Cleveland said as a collective team, the Wildcats now understands how to score runs and win against a good team like Dakota State, and was able to fix the problems the team faced during their games against Rogers State.
The team is stocked with returners who have already felt the difference in this season compared to last year.
“I think we bonded a lot better this year so far early, which is good. Last year we had a good bond but it took our team a while,” Wheelock said. “It feels amazing this year to be close to each and every one of the guys this early in the season.”