Brasier tosses complete-game no-hitter
Before Angels brass, ex-reliever dominates for Arkansas
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas Travelers allowed a one-hit wonder into the ballpark, but starter Ryan Brasier didn't allow any hits on the field Thursday night.
The Travelers' right-hander hurled a complete-game no-hitter in a 4-0 victory over the Tulsa Drillers 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 in Arkansas' sixth consecutive victory.
"You always want to go as far into the game as you can and do the best you can," the 22-year-old 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 second no-hitter in two days and the second of the season in the Minor Leagues. Chris Tillman hurled a complete-game no-hitter for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides on Wednesday.
It was the first no-no at Dickey-Stephens Park, which opened in 2007, and 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," 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."
It was the first "Bark at the Park" night at the stadium, and the Travelers brought in the Baha Men to perform their hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?" before assorted fans and their dogs.
Brasier 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."
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 of Anaheim 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."
The 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander stabbed a comebacker to the mound and turned it into an assist for the first out of the seventh inning. 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 him.
"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 to let him continue.
"It depends on how the player gets to x number 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 were scored via an RBI single by Paul McAnulty, who hit safely in his 15th consecutive game, a run-scoring triple by Julio Perez, an RBI single by Nieves and a sacrifice fly by Perez.
After inducing two groundouts and a flyout in the final frame, Brasier was mobbed by his teammates and given a partial water bucket bath while conducting a postgame interview.
"I can't even explain it, I'm speechless," Brasier said.
Todd Traub is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.