NORTH LITTLE ROCK
- The Arkansas Travelers allowed a one-hit wonder into the ballpark, but starter Ryan Brasier allowed no hits on the field Thursday night.
Brasier, the Travelers' right-hander, no-hit the Tulsa Drillers 4-0 in nine innings at Dickey-Stephens Park. A converted reliever who didn't begin pitching until junior college, Brasier struck out three and walked two as Arkansas won its sixth consecutive game.
"You always want to go as far into the game as you can and do the best you can," Brasier, 22, said after throwing his first no-hitter at any level. "But I don't think there's anything you can do to prepare for something like this. It's indescribable."
It was the first no-hitter in the Texas League this season and the first at Dickey-Stephens Park, which opened in 2007. It was also the first nine-inning, complete-game Texas League no-hitter since the Travelers' Hatuey Mendoza threw one at Tulsa in 2002.
"You've got to save your ticket stub tonight," Travelers manager Bobby Magallanes said. "It's a feat that is very rare and especially, especially, in the minor leagues. Because you don't have guys going nine innings because everyone has pitch counts."
In a night of firsts, it was also the first "Bark at the Park" night at Dickey-Stephens, and the Travelers brought in the Baja Men to perform their hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?" before assorted fans and their dogs. But there was nothing dog-like about the performance Brasier turned in under a full moon.
He was sharp with his fastball from his pregame bullpen onward, pitching coach Ken Patterson said, and he also showed a curveball and changeup good enough to keep the Tulsa hitters off balance.
"He didn't throw a ball above the waist in the bullpen today warming up," Patterson said. "He just carried it on."
And talk about timing. Brasier, who moved to the mound at Weatherford (Texas) Junior College and was making his 18th career start, accomplished his gem in front of Los Angeles Angels general manager Tony Reagins and Angels pitching coordinator Kernan Ronan.
"The kid competed from the first pitch," Reagins said. "Not only did he execute pitches but he fielded his position well and he competed."
Brasier, 6-0, 190 pounds, stabbed a comebacker to the mound and turned it into an assist for the first out of the seventh. Brasier covered first and made the second out of the inning when second baseman Abel Nieves grabbed a ball deflected off first baseman Efren Navarro and threw to Brasier.
"Probably the best defender out there was Brasier," Magallanes said. "He had four comebackers if I'm not mistaken and he had two plays at first base that were tough throws to get."
There were other scares and near misses.
Tulsa shortstop and No. 9 hitter Radhames Nazario hit a ball long but just outside the left-field foul pole in the sixth. Travelers catcher Alberto Rosario made a diving catch of a short pop foul a third of the way up the third-base line for the last out of the sixth.
"The play that got me the most excited and pumped up was the diving catch Rosario made," Brasier said.
Looming over everything was the possibility a pitch count could force Brasier from the mound before he could finish. He was at 95 pitches after eight innings, with 66 for strikes, but the Angels brass and the Travelers leadership agreed Brasier was so efficient he had pitches to give entering the ninth.
"It depends on how the player gets to X number/amount of pitches," Reagins said. "If he's struggling to get to 100 pitches, different story. But if he's comfortable at 100 you let him go."
The Travelers' runs came on an RBI single by Paul McAnulty, who hit safely in his 15th consecutive game, an RBI triple by Julio Perez, an RBI single by Nieves and a sacrifice fly by Perez.
Brasier's final three outs came on a grounder to third, a fly to right and a grounder to second, then he was mobbed by his teammates and given a partial water bucket bath while conducting a postgame interview.
Clearly it was Brasier's night, as a last-second warning kept him from getting completely drenched.
"I can't even explain it, I'm speechless," Brasier said.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.