Razorback signee Connor Noland fires no-hitter

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018
Greenwood pitcher Connor Noland throws during a Class 6A State Tournament game against Sheridan on Monday, May 15, 2017, in Benton.
Greenwood pitcher Connor Noland throws during a Class 6A State Tournament game against Sheridan on Monday, May 15, 2017, in Benton.

— Arkansas signee Connor Noland was not perfect on Monday, but came about as close as you can.

Noland (6-3, 210) fanned 14 and didn’t walk anyone as his Bulldogs downed Russellville 5-0 to move to 24-3 on the season.

The quarterbacking and pitching standout missed a perfect game due to an error on an overthrow in the second inning. Noland signed for football at Arkansas, but intends to play baseball, too.

“I was throwing pretty good,” Noland said. “I was just mixing my slider and curve ball and it was working well for me with the fastball so that was catching them off balance. I just kept them swinging and guessing the whole game."

While a lot of pitchers talk about not being aware of a possible no-hitter, Noland knew he was on from the first inning when he fanned the side.

“I knew as soon as I started,” Noland said. “I had good enough stuff that I was like in the first inning ‘let’s go.’ I was just getting out there and competing every at-bat. That’s just part of the game.”

Greenwood head coach Trey Holloway, a former Razorback, wasn’t surprised at all at the effort from Noland, who has fanned over 80 and walked just 10 this season and is also hitting near .500.

“He’s got good stuff,” Holloway said. “He’s got a good curve ball, a good slider and a fast ball runs up there pretty good. You have to be on your game when you get out there. He did a good job.

“With two strikes, his breaking ball is really hard to hit whether he throws it for a strike or in the dirt. It just has such good bite.

“That’s the thing. He has confidence in anything he throws so he’s successful with it and guys are usually on auto swing when they see it. It gets them off the fast ball as well.”

Noland (7-0) notes that he had not tossed a no-hitter on this level.

“It was the first one this year,” Noland said. “I have had a couple of one-hitters this year where dribblers just got through the infield to break up the no-hitter, but that is my first one. I have had some in Little League and throughout my career, but that was my first one on this field.

“That one was pretty special. We are getting close to the end of the season and it was awesome to do it in front of my family and friends.”

Noland led Greenwood to the Class 6A state football title this season while passing for nearly 3,000 yards with 34 touchdowns, a 70 percent completion rate and rushing for 230 yards.

“It was a great year for us on the football field and now we are trying to do it in baseball as well,” Noland said. “I am surrounded by great teammates and have had great coaches.”

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