TJ Fondtain’s no-hitter propels Aztecs to 4-0 victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack

Fondtain was brilliant all evening walking only one batter, dominating the strike zone with ease


Isabella Biunno

About to swing, junior Cole Carrigg keeps his eye on the ball as the pitcher prepares to throw in a game versus the University of Hawaii on Monday, Feb. 27.

by Jake Enrico, Senior Staff Writer

What a night it was for junior pitcher TJ Fondtain of the San Diego State Aztecs. The lefty was phenomenal, throwing a no-hitter against Mountain West rival Nevada to start off a three-game series with the Wolf Pack.

Fondtain was perfect through eight innings but walked a batter to start the ninth. He closed out Nevada though after the walk to clinch the first no-hitter for SDSU since Stephen Strasburg’s on May 8, 2009. Fondtain also added 14 strikeouts in the game, the most for an Aztec since 2014.

“I just focused on hitting my spots,” Fondtain said. “Using my off-speed effectively and I think that played a huge role.”

“Coming into the game I was planning on hitting them with inside pitches, then I started to work away when they backed off the plate. Now I’m gonna try to get a steak dinner.”

It was all Fondtain early as he struck out five straight Nevada batters, and struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced. The SDSU bats, however, were just as quiet as although Fondtain was perfect through three innings, the game was tied at 0 with no base runners in the game through three innings.

The Aztecs did not get their first hit until the bottom of the fourth when sophomore outfielder Shaun Montoya singled up the middle. However, nothing came out of it as Montoya was caught stealing for the third out of the inning. 

Fondtain continued to shut down the Wolf Pack bats and finally, in the bottom half of the sixth inning, the Aztec offense woke up.

Fondtain got things started after being hit by a pitch and advancing to first. Montoya doubled after a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position. Junior infielder Caden Miller reached on a fielder’s choice to score Fondtain for the game’s first run. After a hit by pitch, the bases were loaded for junior Cole Carrigg and the outfielder capitalized. He hit a shot off the right-center wall to clear the bases and open the game up, 4-0.

“That was a big hit out of Cole,” head coach Mark Martinez said. “All the sudden it starts to stir a little bit and here comes Cole Carrigg, great players rise up in big moments.”

The Aztecs kept a 4-0 run lead going into the ninth inning, where Fondtain was three outs away from history. 

Despite a high pitch count, Martinez never considered taking Fondtain out and wanted to give his player a shot at history.

“Obviously 127 (pitches) is a lot, but when you got a no-hitter going, you kind of want to let him keep going,” Martinez said. “He’s difficult to pick up, when he can throw his fastball where he wants to, that’s what keeps people off balance.”

Fondtain allowed his first base runner in the ninth, walking the Nevada player on four straight pitches. This virtually was his first mistake of the entire game. After the walk, Fondtain got right back on track forcing a flyout, a strikeout and then ultimately the final out of the game, a lineout to outfielder Irvin Weems to complete the no-hitter.

“I didn’t even know what happened until after the last out,” Fondtain said. “Everyone started cheering and it just hit me, just a great feeling.”

Many Aztec fans stayed afterwards to congratulate Fondtain on his special performance, as it had become the highlight of SDSU’s season so far. He remained humble in celebration crediting his teammates and coaching staff contributing to the win. 

The Aztecs get an important Mountain West win to improve to 9-5 as they continue to chase down San Jose State for the top spot in the conference.