A very good season for the Kane County Cougars became a little more special on Saturday night as 2013 fourth round draft pick Tyler Skulina and reliever Nathan Dorris combined on a No-Hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Quad Cities River Bandits.
The game in the western suburbs began routinely enough as Tyler Skulina set down the side in order in the first inning. The Cougars’ offense would provide Skulina with the only run he would need in the bottom half of that inning after Jacob Hannemann walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Carlos Penalver.
The River Bandits mounted the first of two serious scoring threats in the second inning after first baseman Conrad Gregor was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a passed ball. However, Skulina was able to work out of the jam thanks to the efforts of Kane County’s best defender, shortstop Carlos Penalver. Skulina induced a pop-up to Penalver, while the shortstop vacuumed up two ground balls to get the Cougars out of the inning.
In the fourth inning, walks to second baseman Chan Moon and Gregor sandwiched around a foul out placed a River Bandits runner in scoring position for the second time. But a nifty pick-off of Gregor by catcher Will Remillard caught Quad Cities off-guard, and Skulina ended the threat with a strikeout.
Kane County put the game out of reach in the fifth inning after centerfielder Trey Martin led off with a double and scored as left fielder Shawon Dunston Jr. reached on a fielder’s choice and throwing error. A wild pitch advanced Dunston to third, and a sacrifice fly from Hannemann brought him home.
In the meantime, Skulina had things on cruise control as he ended his evening with one out in the eighth inning. The big right-hander had only two walks in 7.1 innings. Skulina recorded nine groundball outs, four fly outs, and five strikeouts.
Three-year veteran lefty reliever Nathan Dorris was able to induce two groundouts to finish off the eighth inning. Dorris then struck out the first batter of the ninth inning, got a routine fly to center field, and a groundout to second baseman Danny Lockhart, who threw to first baseman Jacob Rogers to complete the eighth no-hitter in Kane County Cougars’ history.
The Cubs selected RHP Tyler Skulina in the fourth round of last June’s Draft. The 22-year old was off to a good start to his season before Saturday’s no-hitter. Skulina had made seven starts and was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP (29 hits, 15 walks and 27 strikeouts in 35 innings).
Nathan Dorris has quietly put together a good season out of the Cougars’ pen. The 23-year old left was 4-2 in 12 appearances for Kane County, all in relief, with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP prior to Saturday night (14 hits, 14 walks and 20 strikeouts in 20 innings). The Cubs picked Dorris in the 17th round of the 2012 draft.
The Skulina-Dorris No-Hitter is the second no-no in the Cubs’ system this season. Chris Rusin tossed the NO-NO in NOLA on May 7. Rusin became the first I-Cubs pitcher in close to 30 years (Reggie Patterson, Aug. 21, 1984) to toss a no-hitter in an I-Cubs uniform.