Missouri's Tanner Houck, Florida's A.J. Puk and Texas A&M's Ryan Hendrix combined on a no-hitter in the USA Collegiate National Team's 2-0 victory over Cuba on Wednesday night at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
"They pitched tremendously," USA manager Ed Blankmeyer (St. John's) said. "They located well, they were confident and we defended well. I was bowled over when I talked to the Cuban press and they told me that was the first time Cuba had ever been no-hit in international play. That is pretty special. And that was pretty dominant, there were no close ones. Maybe two balls were really hit hard the entire game. We showed something very special tonight."
Houck worked four perfect innings, not allowing a baserunner and retiring all 12 hitters he faced. In three outings with Team USA, Houck has a 2.13 ERA in 122⁄3 innings, fanning 11 and walking just one.
"Tanner Houck was really good," said Kentucky Coach Gary Henderson, who is Team USA's pitching coach. "He got it started for us. ...Really impressive. In control ... the entire night."
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Puk (1-0) started the fifth inning in a scoreless game. He threw four innings, allowing only a leadoff walk and a one-out error.
Team USA (7-4) called on Hendrix in the ninth inning to protect a two-run lead and clinch the historic no-hitter. He came on to face 9-1-2 in the Cuba batting order, getting three groundouts.
"I had no idea. I really didn't," Hendrix said when asked whether he knew there was a no-hitter on the line with him on the mound. "I wasn't really paying attention to the scoreboard. I never think about that. I just think about going out and commanding my fastball."
Team USA got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI single by Virginia's Matt Thaiss.
Team USA got an insurance run in the eighth inning, as Louisville's Corey Ray reached on a one-out fielding error and took two bases on a passed ball that skidded away to the third base dugout netting. He scored on a groundout by Florida's Buddy Reed.
Henderson said he is enjoying his stint with the American squad.
"It's been a fun group of kids," he said. "Really talented group, obviously. They are all learning to listen. I'm learning a lot as well about the things that they do and how they all go about their business. It has been fun."
■ It was the third no-hitter in the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team's history. Carson Fulmer, Tyler Jay, Dillon Tate and Ryan Burr combined to no-hit the Netherlands in 2014. Team USA also no-hit Korea in 2010, a combined effort from Sonny Gray, Kyle Winkler and Noe Ramirez.