Collins makes franchise,
RiverRat tosses no-hitter in 5-0 win over
The Palladium-Item, Richmond, Indiana
By Josh Chapin • Sports Editor • June 21, 2010
Long after the fans had left, the sun was down and
the lights were off, evidence of Sean Collins' historic
Sunday still shone brightly on McBride Stadium's
Eleven zeroes all in a row. No runs. No hits.
Collins didn't expect any of it. Not the nine innings
he threw in his first start since high school. Not the
history making performance he delivered for
Richmond in the RiverRats' 5-0 win over Slippery
And not even the customary shaving cream to the
face he received from a teammate after he dazzled
the crowd of 1,185 at McBride and delivered the first
no-hitter in Prospect League history.
Just as he did against the Sliders, Collins didn't miss
a beat. He paused only to apologize as he wiped
away the foam.
"I didn't even know that was coming," Collins said.
He might've been the only one, especially after the
show he just put on.
Conditions weren't exactly ideal, either. It was the
right-hander's first start since his high school days
at Pendleton Heights. A junior at Purdue, Collins
came to Richmond as a closer.
He had a blood blister on his middle finger. His
elbow bothered him a bit during his warm-up. The
RiverRats were coming off two extra-inning
marathons on the road over the weekend.
None of it mattered. Everything aligned perfectly -
for Collins and the RiverRats.
Richmond got ahead early, Collins threw strikes and
the Sliders couldn't find a hole anywhere in the
"When I was warming up in the bullpen before the
game, I was having trouble with my elbow, with my
curveball," said Collins, whose Purdue teammate,
Kevin Plawecki, caught all nine innings. "That was a
bad sign, but it turned out nice."
It was a nice Father's Day gift, too. Collins' parents,
Charlie and Debbie, were in the crowd.
"It's amazing for it to fall on this day," Collins said.
"It makes it 100 times more special."
Collins struck out five and retired the final 10
Sliders in order.
Anticipation built and the crowd buzzed as Collins
induced a groundball to first base, a fly ball to left
field and a line drive to second base for a perfect
"We were hoping to try and get him through five,
just try and get him the win," said Richmond
manager Tyler Lairson. "He was phenomenal."
Collins walked a batter in the first inning, but the
Sliders advanced just two runners to second base.
They had multiple runners on only once, as Collins
walked two batters in the top of the sixth.
Collins said he started to wear down around the
sixth, about the same time he -and the RiverRat
dugout - started to think about the no-hitter.
"Jordan (Baker, assistant coach) and I started to
discuss it around the fifth or sixth inning. We saw
it," Lairson said. "Nobody made mention of it. We
started to get into the seventh and we're looking at
pitch count and we might need to get somebody up.
"We got to the eighth, and he got through that
quick. At that point, we just let him go."
Collins never had to worry about a lead, though.
Richmond staked him to a 3-0 advantage in the
bottom of the second after an RBI groundout by
Casey Jones and a two-run home run to left field by
Kevin Krantz plated two more runs for the RiverRats
with his two-RBI double in the fifth.
"It was unbelievable. (Collins) just went there and
battled and we just did our best to make plays for
him," Rupp said. "I can't say enough about what he
"He really stepped up because our bullpen's getting
pretty worn out. We've had a lot of extra-inning
games lately. He really stepped up and gave
everybody a breather."
The early and extra runs helped, Collins said,
especially since he wasn't used to logging such a
This was his first start for the RiverRats. He was
moved into the rotation when Chuck Ghysels went to
the bullpen as a request from his collegiate
"Mentally, I just kind of prepared the same way,"
Collins said. "Throw strikes. Let the defense work.
"Physically I was a little worried. I didn't know how
long I'd be able to go. Luckily I toughed it out and
got through nine innings."
It had been a long time for Richmond's summer
baseball fans to cheer a no-hitter. Christian Hess
threw one for the Roosters in the mid-1990s in the
But that was on the road, and the Roosters never
had a no-hitter at McBride.
"That makes it a little bit more special, too," Collins
So does moving above .500. Richmond improved to
8-7, but remain two games behind Danville (10-5)
in the Central Division.
The RiverRats play host again tonight to the Sliders
with a 7:05 p.m. start.
"We're kind of getting into the home stretch here
before the All-Star break," Lairson said. "We need to
have a good homestand this week."
Sports Editor Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 or