ALBANY — Darton pitcher Brandon Goldsmith tried not to look at the scoreboard Saturday afternoon.
But with every inning of no-hit baseball Goldsmith threw against South Georgia College, it got harder to keep his eyes away.
“I was just trying not to jinx myself,” the sophomore right-hander said. “But I caught myself looking up there quite a few times.”
A routine start in Game 1 of a doubleheader turned into a career day for Goldsmith, who threw the first no-hitter of his life and the third in the history of the Darton baseball program to lead the Cavs to a 4-0 victory.
The final out was a popup to shortstop Ventavis Jerger, who squeezed the ball in his glove and then joined the celebration on the pitcher’s mound.
“He catches it, and I turn around and see the whole dugout running onto the field,” Goldsmith said. “(Starting pitcher) John Harman picks me up and gives me a big bear hug. They almost took me to the ground.
“Right now, I’m just speechless and overwhelmed to throw my first no-hitter.”
Darton coach Scot Hemmings let Goldsmith and his teammates celebrate on the mound before he walked up to his pitcher to give him a hug and a handshake.
“I told him that it was something to be proud of,” said Hemmings, who previously hadn’t been a part of a no-hitter in his 12-year coaching career. “I told him that it was not only a special part of his career, but of my career as well. It was one of those special moments.”
The no-hitter came during a seven-inning game, and Goldsmith (5-1) struck out four and allowed just two walks.
“But I can’t take all the credit,” he said. “I had such a great defense behind me. The hitters were hitting it well, and I had a four-run lead that helped me pitch with confidence and just throw strikes.”
It was the latest outing of what has turned into a banner career at Darton for Goldsmith, who has tossed 14 straight scoreless innings and is 11-1 in his two years as a Cavs starter. Goldsmith, a Hamilton native, hadn’t thrown a no-hitter at any level of baseball prior to Saturday.
Just before the final out of the game, he paused for a moment behind the mound to gather himself.
“I got two outs (in the seventh inning) and then took a step back and took a deep breath,” he said. “Then I threw it in there and gave it all I had. I tried to challenge the hitter because I knew I had a defense behind me to make the play if I needed it.”
Darton scored two in the second and two in the third to give Goldsmith an early lead. Brandon Sharpe led the Cavs at the plate with two RBIs, while Luis Salas knocked in one run.
In the second game, Darton star closer and former Crisp County standout Davis Adkins had a rare blown save, and South Georgia came back to win, 5-4.
The Cavs erased a 3-0 deficit earlier in the game with a Tavin Thompson RBI single in the sixth inning, but an Adkins throwing error with no outs in the top of the seventh allowed South Georgia to rally for the victory.
South Georgia and Darton split their four-game series, and the Cavs (17-13, 8-4 Region XVII) enter next week’s series against West Georgia Tech in third place in the region standings.
ASU SWEEPS TUSKEGEE: Albany State’s midseason surge continued Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of SIAC foe Tuskegee, 4-2 and 11-0.
The Rams, who are now 17-14 overall and a perfect 11-0 in the conference, have won 12 of their last 14 games.
They needed to come from behind in the opener after starter John Paul Benard gave up seven hits and two runs in the first 3 1/3 innings, but Benard settled in to throw his second straight complete game, allowing eight hits and two strikeouts in seven innings.
Sable Gilliard and Jeromy Arrington both drove in two runs in the fourth inning to give the Rams the lead. Former Westover star Jacob Campbell added two hits for Albany State.
In the second game, Leesburg native Andrew Bacon threw a complete game, four-hitter and struck out six. The sophomore right-hander has now thrown 14 straight innings without a walk and needed just 79 pitches to finish seven innings on Saturday.
Campbell, Sable, Uwen Udofia, Robert Latner and Allen Hardy all had RBIs for the Rams, who will go for the three-game home sweep of Tuskegee at noon today with ace Allen Fender on the mound.