Eric Huson goes the distance in a 7-0 Mt. Hood CC win

Nine innings. Seventy-six pitches. No hits.

That is the superlative pitching performance Mt. Hood Community College sophomore Eric Huson turned in March 24 against Blue Mountain in his third start of the season.

“Once the fifth inning came, I kind of looked up at the scoreboard and realized that they haven’t got a hit, so I just kind of kept that off my mind and kept throwing, I guess,” the 2011 Forest Grove graduate said last week about the game, a 7-0 win.

Huson, a 6-foot-3 right hander, made quick work of the Timberwolves early and often. Of the 30 batters he faced, Huson induced outs on the first pitch against 10 of them and on the second pitch against six more. He threw no more than six pitches to any single batter.

“Eric’s been a pretty good strike thrower for us for the last two years, and he just kind of did what he normally does,” Mt. Hood coach Bryan Donohue said. “Once he got into the middle of the game, I think everyone kind of started to realize that he had something going, and he just kind of got better as it went on.”

Of Huson’s 76 pitches, 54 were strikes, which helped keep his efficiency high. Almost every pitch he throws is a fastball, he said, adding that he was throwing in the 85 to 87 miles-per-hour range against Blue Mountain.

“I was just around the zone, which made them swing the bat, and them putting the ball in play kept my pitch count low,” Huson noted.

The no-hitter was just the ninth in Saints history and the first for the program since 2005. Huson — who also struck out seven, walked one and hit one batter during the contest — said that after the game’s final out, the team ran out to greet him and he received chest bumps and hugs from his teammates and handshakes congratulatory words from his coaches.

In high school, Huson was a first team Pacific Conference pick as a junior, and he earned second team honors as a senior. He has continued to find success in college, as the win against the Timberwolves upped his career record to 6-0. Last May, he went the distance against Pierce College in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship, throwing 96 pitches (including 74 strikes) and giving up seven hits and a walk while striking out seven in a 4-2 victory.

But the no-hitter definitely stands out.

“I think it might be top, actually, just because I’ve never done it before, and only so few have done it here too,” noted Huson, who said he threw a one-hitter and a two-hitter while still in high school.

And though the no-hitter was a first, it was also typical Huson, who said he expected his next start to come yesterday at Chemeketa (after press deadline).

“That’s just kind of who he is,” said Donohue, who thinks Huson will get the chance to continue his baseball career at the NCAA Division I level. “He throws a lot strikes and he doesn’t really do any favors for hitters. He throws everything down in the strike zone.”

And in what had already been a solid college career, he now has a no-hitter to his credit.

“He’s just gotten better. He did a lot of good things for us last year,” Donohue said. “He’s matured, he’s become a leader, he’s just gotten better. He’s done what we thought he was going to do.”

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