ORANGE CITY, Iowa - Northwestern College (Iowa) sophomore Josh Turner threw a perfect game against Presentation (S.D.) on Saturday Feb. 22nd in game one of a doubleheader. Turner recorded 13 strikeouts, induced six ground ball outs, two infield pop ups, and one fly ball out to centerfield.
Turner used 90 pitches in the game, throwing 23 balls and 67 strikes. Turner reached a 3-0 count with the second hitter of the game before retiring him on a strikeout swinging. One other hitter made it to a three ball count and only five more reached two balls.
The Red Raider offense took off in the second inning, putting up a five run inning on five hits and one error. Nikko Melonas singled in Mitch Peschon for the first run of the game and Micah Linn later singled in Melonas and Erik Widener, who also singled. Cody Groskreutz doubled to score Brett Rolls, who reached on a fielder’s choice, and Linn to cap the five run inning.
In the third inning Melonas tripled to drive home Peschon. Peschon singled with one out. In the fourth inning, Northwestern scored four runs on four hits and a walk. Groskreutz, Skyler Wheeler, Peschon, and Gavin Okada each drove in a run in the fourth to give Northwestern a 10-0 lead for Turner.
The closest plays to spoil Turner’s perfect game were in the third, sixth, and seventh innings. In the third inning, Jake Bunjovac hit a chopper between second and third but third baseman Okada cut off the bouncer and threw out Bunjovac.
The sixth inning ended on a swinging strikeout by Bunjovac but the ball scooted away from catcher Davis Bloemendaal. The ball hit the umpire and rolled back to Bloemendaal, who threw out Bunjovac by two steps at first.
In the seventh inning, leadoff hitter Dylan Segula spiked a ground ball up the middle into the turf. Following a very high bounce, Groskreutz fielded the short-hop on the run and retired Segula on a bang-bang play at first. Turner struck out the final two hitters swinging to complete the perfect game.
This was the second perfect game in Northwestern history; Terry Hill also accomplished the feat for Northwestern in 1969. It was the third no-hitter; Bryan Case no hit Dordt in 1992. Turner’s 13 strikeouts were the most at Northwestern since Kelly Kleinhesselink struck out 13 against St. Gregory’s on March 8th, 2002.
Northwestern won game two 1-0, behind a combined shutout by starter Isaac Horigan, who lasted six innings, and Tyler Stuerman. Skyler Wheeler had a sac fly in the first to drive in the only run of the game.
The Red Raiders (5-3) are receiving votes in the NAIA baseball poll and will play next at Ottawa University (Kan.) on March 1st.