MANSFIELD — Chris Franks wasn’t just unhittable. Wooster’s ace was almost untouchable.
A hard-throwing left-hander, Franks fired a five-inning no-hitter as the Generals cruised to a 19-1 win over Lexington in Ohio Cardinal Conference action at Mansfield Christian’s Graham Field.
How dominant was the Ashland University-bound Franks?
Lexington put only two balls in play all afternoon: a first-inning flyout to center by Chase Carter and a groundout back to Franks off the bat of Cole Pauley to end the game. Franks struck out 13 and might have tossed a perfect game were it not for four consecutive walks with two out in the fourth, resulting in Lexington’s only run.
“He’s headed to AU for a reason,” Lexington coach Kevin Morrow said. “He was dealing fastballs and we just couldn’t touch him.”
Wooster gave Franks all the run support he would need in the top of the first, plating three runs. Sophomore third baseman Blake Bowen, who already has verbally committed to the University of Kentucky, belted the first of his two run-scoring doubles. He was 3-for-3 on the day with a pair of intentional walks and four runs batted in.
“I really just go in trying to hit a first-pitch fastball and drive it to the right side,” the left-handed hitting Bowen said. “I usually just try to hit it where it’s pitched.”
Franks took care of the rest. He threw 52 of his 85 pitches for strikes. Of his 33 balls, 16 came in a four-batter stretch in the fourth.
“I didn’t throw an off-speed pitch until the third inning. I was just locating my fastball,” Franks said of his first career high school no-hitter. “In the fourth I walked a kid and then I kind of got in my head. I just needed to settle down.”
Wooster added two more runs in the second and five in the third. Tyler Pettorini doubled in the second and third and added a third double in Wooster’s five-run fifth. The Ohio State recruit was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and five runs scored, twice reaching base on Lexington errors.
Lexington did itself no favors, committing eight errors. Only 12 of Wooster’s 19 runs were earned.
“It just kind of avalanched on us,” Morrow said. “The good news is it only counts as one loss.”
Carter took the loss for Lexington, allowing eight earned runs in three innings of work. He struck out four and walked three.
Lexington (3-4, 2-1) travels to Wooster on Wednesday to complete the home-and-home series.
“My prediction since day one is Wooster is the team to beat (in the OCC),” Morrow said. “With as many good players as they have over there, they’re going to be really hard to knock off.”