Matt Harrison had trouble finding the strike zone on Sunday, but he found it enough to make history.
Harrison pitched the first complete-game no-hitter in team history as the Frisco RoughRiders blanked the San Antonio Missions, 2-0, in the first game of a doubleheader at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
"I'm pretty excited about it. It was a once-in-a lifetime experience," Harrison said. "I'm pretty pumped."
It's the fourth no-hitter in the Minors this season and the second in Frisco history. A.J. Murray, Steve Karsay and Scott Feldman combined on a perfect game against the Corpus Christi Hooks on July 28, 2005.
Harrison (3-1) did it by using his wildness to his advantage. The 22-year-old left-hander issued a career-high six walks, including five in the first three innings. He had trouble controlling his changeup, so he relied on his fastball and slider. Keeping the no-hitter intact also caused him to be more precise.
"Towards the end of the game, when I had the no-hitter going, I knew I had to bear down and make quality pitches," Harrison said. "I didn't want to give up a hit. I knew if I gave up a hit, they would take my out of the game because of my pitch count. I think that led to some of the walks, too, because I was trying to be finer with the pitches. I missed a few by a couple of inches."
Harrison settled down, allowing only two baserunners after the fourth and striking out five. He retired Jon Schemmel on a grounder to shortstop Elvis Andrus to finish off the Missions.
"I saw the ball hit on the ground. I said, 'Please go to an infielder,' and it went right to Elvis," Harrison said. "I can't explain the feeling, how great that was and how exhausted I am from that game, mentally and physically."
Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the third round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Harrison had to work from the stretch in all but two innings. He did not walk a batter after the fifth, Seth Johnston reached on an errant throw from by leading off the seventh.
"After that second out, I was pretty nervous. I was just trying to throw strikes and hopefully, I would get a groundout," Harrison said. "There's a lot of pressure when you have that pitch count."
Harrison took control after that. He got the next two batters to fly out before retiring Schemmel on a weak bouncer to Andrus on an 0-1 pitch.
"It's just a sigh of relief when you get that final out, everyone's just on top of you," he said. "It's a feeling you can't really explain."
The no-hitter capped an interesting 12 months for Harrison, who lost his last six decisions with Double-A Mississippi before being traded to the Texas Rangers organization in the blockbuster Mark Teixeira deal last July. The deal initially was held up due to concerns over Harrison's shoulder, but he went 5-0 with a 2.00 ERA in the Arizona Fall League and has looked strong this season.
The North Carolina native had given up only six walks over 27 1/3 innings entering the game and has been dominant in his last three outings. Since lasting only two innings on April 20 at Corpus Christi, Harrison has given up two runs on eight hits over 17 frames to lower his ERA to 3.15.
Emerson Frostad hit an RBI double in the second and Craig Gentry scored an insurance run on an error in the sixth for the RoughRiders (28-14), who have five of their last six games.
Matt Buschmann (3-3) also went the distance for the Missions, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts. It was the first career complete game for the 2006 15th-round draft pick.
Josh Alley and Chad Huffman each walked twice for San Antonio (20-22).
The Missions exacted a measure of revenge with an 8-0 rout in the nightcap. Manny Ayala gave up one hit and two walks over four innings and Gabe DeHoyos (3-2) struck out three while issuing one walk over the final three frames.