On the final day of February, ACU freshman softball pitcher Hannah Null pitched a no-hitter against Rhode Island University to add to her young collegiate resume.
If you asked her if she has been there before, you could count her no-hitter totals on two hands. Before stepping onto the rubber at Poly Wells Field, Null threw nine no-hitters, four of which were perfect games at her alma mater, Flower Mound Marcus.
“In high school, a lot of the times I played teams where throwing a no-hitter was almost expected “” but I never thought I would throw one in college for a long time,” Null said.
Null carried her former team to a No. 5 national ranking, but fell short her senior year to district-rival, Lewisville Farmers, in the regional final playoff round after a controversial strike was called a ball, and the Farmers responded to the call.
At 4-12, Null is not satisfied with the overall success of the Wildcats, but three of those four wins are credited to her arm.
“Until this past weekend, I feel like we’ve been really timid and almost afraid to play””but even though we only won one game we played like we wanted it more,” Null said.
Although Null has had success in the circle at ACU, a past injury still haunts her. After finishing her regular season at Marcus at 12-0, she strained her hip flexor muscle late in the last game, forcing her to visit rehab for a month. The injury came at a time when her team needed her most.
“I’m still playing on it,” Null said. “It’s kind of annoying because I thought I was done with it after I rehabbed in high school, but when I’m pitching it gets sore and every once in a while it affects a pitch or two.”
As a softball pitcher, Null must have strong hips to give her more control and especially speed behind her pitches. Null struggles with her past injury every once in a while.
“There are certain times where I feel it on a certain pitch and all I would think is, ‘I wish this didn’t happen because that pitch would’ve been better,'” Null said.
Injuries aside, Null made ACU softball history. The last no-hitter recorded was 14 years ago at the arm of Rebecca Eldridge. She joins three others, Shelly Owen (four no-hitters combined in 1997 and 1998), Amanda Cobb (one in 1999) and Eldridge as well.
Her success has made ACU a better team.
“We played really well against Sam Houston State after losing to them twice in the series, but the third game, I think we surprised them forcing it into extra innings,” Null said. “Courtney Flanary used to play for SHSU and I think that’s what made us want to go down with a fight.”
Null threw four perfect games in high school and one of her long-term goals is to throw one while at ACU. We’ll see if she makes history with the second perfect game in ACU’s history. Back in 2008, Kim McDonald pitched a perfect game against Delta State.
Null is 3-4 on the year, but continues to work on her pitches and plays through the stress her hip flexor brings.
“I just want to get back to a winning record as of now “” that is what seems most possible now,” Null said.