A geography major at the University of Connecticut, David Fischer learned just as much in his four years on the mound as he did in the college classroom.
Now two weeks into his professional career in the Washington Nationals' organization, he's hoping those baseball lessons translate well in the Minors.
Making his fourth New York-Penn League appearance, Fischer tossed four innings of no-hit ball to lead the Class A Short-Season Auburn Doubledays past the Lowell Spinners, 10-1.
"I just treated it like I would any start when I was at UConn," he said. "They did a great job of having a professional atmosphere and that has translated very well, but I still have a long way to go. You have to stay level-headed. There will be ups and downs, but you have to stay even-keeled and not let everything bother you.
"You have to be calm and patient. This is baseball; it's not basketball or football where you can be jacked up. You have to think a lot when you are on the mound. My coach [at UConn] always told me to slow the game down, and obviously we've had some success with professional baseball players coming out of UConn lately."
The New York native faced one batter over the minimum and only allowed two baserunners. Williams Jerez reached on first baseman Shawn Pleffner's missed catch to begin the third inning -- he was later erased on an inning-ending double play -- and Deven Marrero drew a leadoff walk in the fourth frame, but was stranded at second base.
"I threw a lot of fastballs," said Fischer, selected by the Nationals in the 18th round of the 2012 Draft. "I had a pretty good run on my two-seam [fastball], so I used that a lot. I threw my breaking ball when I needed to, but that was all I needed tonight. It got me a lot of ground balls.
"I felt comfortable. I threw every pitch where I wanted it and it was good to get back out there again as a starter. But I'm only the guy throwing the ball. I don't hit and I don't field, so a lot of credit has to go to my teammates."
Jason Smith replaced Fischer (0-1) in the fifth inning and he retired the first six batters he faced before Kendrick Perkins lined a one-out double to center field to break up the no-hit bid in the seventh. Two batters later, Mookie Betts lofted an RBI double to center field to end the shutout.
John Peters worked around Williams Jerez's leadoff walk in the eighth and he set the side down in order in the ninth to complete the two-hitter.
Fischer, who entered the contest knowing he had a four-inning pitch limit, said he didn't realize the team had a no-no bid working until long after he had exited the game.
"I went back into the clubhouse to do my shoulder maintenance and get some ice," explained Fischer, who said he had never been part of a no-hitter at any level before.
"When I came back out it, was the bottom of the sixth or the top of the seventh. I saw that we had a no-hitter going, but I kept it to myself. I'm usually pretty observant. But you have to have a lot of luck with that. When I was pitching, it wasn't conscious in my mind."
The 22-year-old allowed a run on two hits over two innings of relief in his pro debut against Batavia on June 21, and he yielded one run on three hits and a walk over three frame out of the bullpen against Jamestown four days later.
On Friday, he surrendered four runs on four hits and a walk in his first pro start, but he only lasted two innings before being taken out.
"I got a couple quick outs, but then I walked a guy and gave up a base hit and it unraveled," said the 6-foot-5 right-hander, who posted a 3.47 ERA and a 5-6 record in 80 1/3 innings over 16 appearances -- including 10 starts in his senior year at Connecticut. "I felt great during that outing, but it just got away from me. When I was getting hit, it was because I was leaving the ball up.
"I like proving people wrong. If someone doesn't have confidence in me, but I have confidence in myself, I want to show them that they're wrong. I like the one-on-one matchups within a team sport. I like like the mano a mano, if you will. I just like competing, that's what drives me. I like being better than the other person."
That and the support of his friends and family.
Fischer grew up a Yankees fan around the Binghamton area and he later moved to Scotia near Albany when he was 11 years old.
Pitching in the New York-Penn League, Fischer -- who was selected by the Angels in the 44th round of the 2008 Draft and the Giants in the 30th round in 2011 -- has a lot of support close by. On Thursday, his family made the two-hour drive west to Auburn. they have seen him pitch in three of his first four pro games.
"My family always supports me and that drives me too," he said. "It's not like I want people just to look up to me, but I want to do well for my family and friends."
On Thursday, catcher Craig Manuel was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored out of the No. 9 spot, and designated hitter Carlos Alvarez and shortstop Stephen Perez each plated two runs in the victory.
Lowell starter Yunior Ortega (1-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits and three walks over five innings.