Robert Ray is sure he had the hard part.
After pitching five innings, Ray watched from the bullpen as Adrian Martin finished off the Auburn Doubledays' first no-hitter in seven years, a 5-0 blanking of the Batavia Muckdogs.
"It was definitely worse watching it than doing it," said Ray, the Blue Jays' seventh-round pick in the 2005 draft. "Every out in the ninth inning, I was grabbing the fence, gritting my teeth. I was definitely feeling some anxiety."
As it turns out, Martin didn't need any spectacular defensive plays to complete the first no-hitter of the season in the New York-Penn League. The 20-year-old right-hander set down the final 11 batters, six on groundouts, for his third save.
"That's pretty much my specialty," said Martin, a 19th-round pick in 2003. "If I get strikeouts, great, but if I can get the guy in less than three pitches, that's fine. I dropped my arm angle this year to get some sink and it's definitely been working."
The only runner against Martin during his four-inning stint came on a throwing error in the sixth. Ray, a 21-year-old Texas A&M product, walked two and struck out two before reaching his pitch count.
"I really didn't realize I hadn't given up a hit until they said, 'You're done,'" Ray said. "Then I started thinking, 'I don't think I'd given up a hit.'"
Ray headed for an exercise bike, re-emerging with one out in the eighth. Martin, meanwhile, knew exactly what he was getting into when he came out of the bullpen.
"I was just kind of getting ready, knowing his pitch count might be approaching. I knew I was jumping into a situation, but you still want to go out there and do your job," he explained. "I had a lead to hold and now you've got a little bit of added pressure."
Martin retired Clay Harris on a ground ball to third baseman Chris Gutierrez to end the game, then was mobbed by teammates at Falcon Park. Later, both Martin and Ray received shaving cream pies to the face.
"I had my head down and just, wham, everything goes white," Ray said. "It's a cool deal."
While Martin had not pitched a no-hitter since his travel league days, Ray threw a pair of gems in high school. At Lufkin High School in Texas, he followed a no-hitter with a perfect game.
"This was definitely more of a feat than the ones in high school were," Ray said.
The Doubledays' last no-hitter also was a combined effort, with Tim Redding, Darwin Peguero and Pete Sullivan blanking St. Catharines on Aug. 4, 1998. The last no-hitter in the New York-Penn League was thrown by Jordan Tata and Chris Homer of the Oneonta Yankees on Sept. 2, 2003 against Tri-City.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.