This Week in Baseball History: Darling vs. Viola

May 21, 1981

It was billed as the greatest college pitching match-up in history, and Frank Viola from St. John’s and Ron Darling from Yale didn’t disappoint.

The two pitchers were matched up in the first round of the Northeast Regional in the NCAA Tournament.


Ron Darling was literally unhittable. After nine innings he had held St. John’s hitless. Frank Viola matched the zeroes to take the game into extra innings.

Finally, in the 12th inning, St. John’s 2B Steve Scafa broke up the no-hitter with a single. Scafa stole second, then stole third base as well. The next batter reached first on an error, Scafa was unable to advance. The unearned run finally crossed the plate on a double steal by St. John’s.

St. John’s reliever Eric Stampfl quickly retired the side in the bottom half to save the victory for Viola.

Darling’s nine inning no-hitter was only the sixth in the history of the NCAA tournament.

Wallace, William “St. John’s Wins, Spoils Yale No-Hitter” New York Times 5/22/1981 Accessed via ProQuest


2 Responses to This Week in Baseball History: Darling vs. Viola

  1. NJ says:

    Oh, what might have been…and then I would have an actually valuable rookie card.

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