Florida rising junior A.J. Puk is spending his summer, in part, with USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team, an elite group of players that also includes Florida teammates Buddy Reed, JJ Schwarz, and Logan Shore.
But only Puk — so far — is going to be able to answer "What'd you do over the summer?" with "Helped no-hit Cuba's national team."
Puk threw four hitless innings from the fifth to the eighth in relief of Missouri's Tanner Houck on Wednesday, and the Americans pushed across both runs with Puk on the mound in what became a 2-0 victory and the first no-hitter ever pitched against Cuba.
Puk did allow the only Cuban baserunners of the game, on a walk and an error, and he also apparently didn't have his top-tier stuff, touching 95 miles per hour once with his typically blazing fastball just once, and in his first inning of work.
But Puk and the U.S. team are all collegians, of course, and Cuba's national team is stocked with professional baseball players who play in the Cuban leagues. Though MLB stars like Yasiel Puig obviously aren't part of that roster, there's no shortage of talent on it, and Puk held the Cuban lineup without a hit for as long as Houck did. (Texas A&M's Ryan Hendrix closed the game.)
And with Puk's help, the U.S. shut it down — for the first time ever.