Twice this season, the Frisco RoughRiders had taken no-hitters into the seventh inning against the San Antonio Missions. On Friday, Joe Wieland sealed the deal.
Despite throwing a team season-high 109 pitches, the Rangers prospect became the first pitcher in Frisco history to hurl a nine-inning no-hitter as the Double-A RoughRiders blanked the Missions, 3-0.
"It feels so great. It's definitely one of my best nights," Wieland said. "Once [second baseman Davis] Stoneburner fielded that final ball, my heart started racing. It was an unbelievable feeling, my best moment in baseball.
"I put my hands up in the air and pointed to God and thanked him. It was all him tonight. He gave me this talent."
The 2008 fourth-round Draft pick struck out seven, walked one and faced the minimum 27 batters. After setting down the first 10 Missions, he issued a one-out walk to Andy Parrino in the fourth inning. But Jaff Decker was called out on strikes and Parrino was caught stealing second base.
"I had Parrino, 2-2, and I threw a two-seamer on the outside corner that I thought caught the plate. It may have been a little low, but I didn't think so," Wieland said. "It didn't matter to me that I didn't throw a perfect game tonight. A no-hitter is still pretty special."
The 21-year-old right-hander was perfect over the final five innings to wrap up his historic performance, although he admits he had some help along the way.
"[Jose] Ruiz made a diving play down the first base line to save a hit in the third inning and then I thought I had lost [the no-hitter] in the seventh," Wieland said. "I threw a 3-1 fastball to Jedd Gyorko, and it was by far the hardest ball hit off me that hasn't left the park."
According to the Reno, Nev., native, "99.9 percent of the time, that ball is out. The wind was blowing in and [Mike] Bianucci caught it on the warning track."
By that point, Wieland was well aware of the importance of each out.
"I was thinking about it from the sixth inning," he admitted. "Whenever I started to say 'no-hitter' in my head, I'd always come up with a different word that started with 'n,' so I didn't say it.
"I did hear [Mitch] Hilligoss asking some of the guys before the seventh inning if San Antonio's No. 2 hitter Parrino had got a hit yet. And they all just kinda told him to shut up."
Wieland (4-0) had thrown 98 pitches through eight innings, but there was no doubt he was going back out to get a shot at his first no-hitter since he threw a five-inning perfect game as a freshman at Bishop Manogue High School.
"I was kinda cruising, so the manager didn't say anything to me. Nobody really said anything to me the entire game," noted Wieland, who allowed one run on two hits over seven innings when he first faced the Missions on July 19.
Wieland lowered his ERA to 1.23 and remained unbeaten in seven Texas League starts. He has allowed one run or fewer in all but one of those outings and has given up only two runs over his last 28 innings.
Before his promotion from Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, Wieland was 6-3 with a 2.10 ERA in 14 games (13 starts).
"I've just been using what I learned in Myrtle Beach. I was on a bit of a roll there and I got a lot of confidence that I brought here," he said. "It's all about making quality pitches. I'm not going out there to throw a no-hitter every time out."
The RoughRiders' only other nine-inning no-hitter came on July 28, 2005, when A.J. Murray, Steve Karsay and Scott Feldman combined on a perfect game against Corpus Christi. Earlier this season, Jake Brigham retired the first 19 Missions he faced on May 6 and Robbie Erlin lost his no-hit bid against San Antonio in the seventh on June 10.
It was the second no-hitter in the Texas League in 11 days. Northwest Arkansas' Will Smith combined with Kelvin Herrera in a 1-0 blanking of Arkansas on July 19.
San Antonio has not been no-hit in a nine-inning game since 1970, and it was the first no-hitter ever pitched at Wolff Stadium.