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Thursday, May 23, 2013 • POSTED BY:

NEWARK, N.J. – Senior James Tucker (Gary, Ind./Calumet) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as he helped Chicago State defeat Texas-Pan American 4-1 on Thursday (May 23) afternoon in an elimination game at the 2013 Great West Conference Tournament.

Combined with the Cougars' 3-2 win over Utah Valley yesterday; the Cougars have now won two games in a postseason tournament for the first time since the 1999 Mid-Continent Tournament.

The win also means Chicago State will be one of four-teams remaining when play opens Friday morning. The Cougars will face Northern Colorado at 10 a.m. in an elimination game for both teams. Should the Cougars defeat Northern Colorado tomorrow they will then turn around and play the loser of Houston Baptist and North Dakota. That winner will then win the consolation bracket and have to defeat the winner of North Dakota and Houston Baptist twice on Saturday for the GWC Championship.

If that is going to occur it will be thanks in part to Tucker's effort on Thursday against UTPA. The senior finished with a line of 8.0 innings, three hits, six walks and one run. He didn't record a strikeout.

"Tuck made some big pitches today and kept putting up zeros after we put some runs on the board," Chicago State head coach Steve Joslyn said. "It's is an outing he'll never forget and I couldn't be happier for him."

The Cougars didn't commit an error behind Tucker and turned two double plays. The first hit he gave up came with one out in the seventh on a clean single to center field by Shane Klemcke. His next two hits came to leadoff the ninth. A walk to Klemcke then loaded the bases. Tucker then left the game for sophomore Jerry Silva(Chicago, Ill./Holy Trinity). Though Silva entered with the bases loaded and no outs he had some batters to work with thanks to a 4-0 lead. A fly out, a single and then back-to-back fly outs ended the game.

The win moves Tucker's record to 3-6. Silva's save is the first of his career. UTPA starter Dylan Badura suffered the loss. He ends the season 3-7.

Offensively the Cougars picked up the win thanks to two runs in the third and two more in the fifth.

A one-out sacrifice bunt by freshman Julian Russell (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) in the third worked out perfectly for the Cougars as sophomore Mattingly Romanin (Burlington, ONT/Notre Dame) walked to the plate with runners at second and third. He knocked a single up the middle to score both runners.

In the fifth the Cougars stole a run, literally, with a first and third two-out, two-strike double steal. Freshman Julian Russell (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) broke for second from first and froze halfway after UTPA threw down to second. Freshman Ray Cekus (Chicago, Ill./Taft) bolted down the line and beat the throw back home thanks to a nice slide at the plate. The move looked even better when Romanin followed with a single to score Russell from second. His hit made it 4-0 and would be all the offense the Cougars would need.

"Obviously James and Jerry threw well today but we also played solid defense behind them," Joslyn said. "You don't need to score a lot of runs to win when you get good pitching and limit the mistakes defensively. We made sure UTPA only got 27 outs."

Mattingly finished the game with two hits and three RBI. Neither team recorded an extra base hit in the contest.

There was a 1:39 minute rain delay before the start of the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Cougars' two wins in the 2013 GWC Tournament have come over teams they failed to defeat in the regular season, Utah Valley and UTPA.

UTPA finishes the regular season 28-30. Chicago State improves to 10-44. It won't be the final meeting between UTPA and Chicago State as both will be members of the Western Athletic Conference next season.