It was something Will Bausinger hadn’t really let himself dwell on until he stepped onto the pitcher’s mound for the sixth inning.
“That’s when I looked up at the scoreboard,” said Bausinger of the Lions’ Feb. 13 game against Washburn University. “When I came off the mound, I had tried not to think about it between innings.”
The “it” in question was the perfect game the junior kinesiology major pitched during the nightcap of the Lions’ first day of the 2019 MIAA/GLVC Challenge at Warren Turner Field. Bausinger became the ninth Lion to throw a no-hitter in the program’s history, and the first ever to throw a perfect game – the 25th in Division II history and the first in the MIAA.
The Lions took down Rockhurst University 13-3 earlier in the afternoon and were looking for their second win of the day.
“I was warming up and relaxing throughout the first game,” said Bausinger. “I did the same stuff I always do … stretched and threw about 25 pitches in the bullpen. Everything felt good.”
Early in the game, his teammates were coming up and joking with him, but things began to quiet down considerably as the string of Washburn batters were sent back to the dugout without ever seeing first base.
“When I was in the bullpen, I just sat back and let my mind wander and not think about the game,” he said.
“When a baseball player is having that kind of game, it’s not something that is talked about in the moment,” said Lions Coach Bryce Darnell.
“It’s one of the superstitions of baseball. You don’t really talk about stuff like that when it’s going on. You could tell by the energy in the dugout that our guys knew what was going on – but nobody talked about it and nobody said anything out loud.”
“I thought he might have a chance after the seventh inning. Will still looked sharp and actually gained some momentum toward the end of the game.”
By the ninth inning, Bausinger knew a perfect game was within reach, but tried to temper his expectations.
“I looked at the scoreboard again, smiled and said, ‘Let’s have some fun and see what happens,’” he said.
He threw another three successive strikeouts, his teammates pouring onto the field to congratulate him.
“From a coaching standpoint, it was a joy to watch,” said Darnell. “It was great to see the team so excited for him, embracing him and celebrating after the game.”
With a perfect game in the books, Baumsinger said he’s not going to let it change his approach to pitching. He will keep the same mindset that got him through nine innings that February evening.
“I’m just going to go out and do whatever I can to help the team win,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”