For a program with over 1,000 wins, two national championships and numerous All-Americans over the course of its 48-year history, it's hard to do anything someone hasn't done before playing baseball at Cal State Stanislaus.
But that's just what Andrew Graham did Saturday afternoon.
The senior side-armer took a spot start in game two of Saturday's doubleheader against Cal State Dominguez Hills and turned it into a historic occasion, throwing the first no-hitter in Cal State Stanislaus baseball history, as the Warriors (7-19, 4-15 California Collegiate Athletic Association) completed a doubleheader sweep over the Toros (12-12, 9-10 CCAA) with a 3-0 victory after snapping a 10-game losing streak in game one with an 8-4 win.
Perhaps the most fitting moment of the feat was the final out. Cal State Dominguez Hills second baseman Spencer Maxey chopped a slow roller back to Graham on the mound, who fielded it and threw over to Pete Pendley at first base to record the final out of his own no-hitter.
"Coming into today I didn't even know I was going to start," said Graham after the game.
Graham would've appeared to have been the least likely of candidates to throw the Warriors' first-ever no-hitter. Entering Saturday, Graham was carrying an 8.16 ERA, with opponents hitting .431 against him in eight appearances.
"I've been hit around a little bit, but I've just never lost confidence with my pitches," he said. "I came into the game confident, even though I've been getting hit."
Graham missed being perfect Saturday by three walks and a hit batsman. He walked the Toros' third batter of the game in the top of the first inning, so the pressure of perfection wasn't a factor. He would go on to retire nine in a row before beaning Toros first baseman Chris Allen with two outs in the fourth.
Graham issued single walks in the sixth and seventh innings, but held up his end of the bargain by never allowing a runner to reach second base. Graham would finish the game with seven shut out, no-hit innings, striking out four and walking three.
And as is the case with most no-hitters or perfect games, Graham also had one huge defensive play to keep it alive. Toros shortstop Carlos Avila led off the top of the fifth inning by driving a ball to deep left center field. Ross Gonsalves sprinted to the gap and made a high-flying, diving catch just short of the warning track with his back to the infield to record the out.
"I didn't think he'd get to it," said Graham, "but he did."
Offensively, it was another unexpected hero that helped the Warriors complete the doubleheader sweep. Colt McLaughlin, who entered the game batting .100 in 15 games, stroked a two-out RBI double to the right-center field gap in the second inning on the first pitch he saw, then later gave the Warriors an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth to make it 2-0.
What was even more improbable about McLaughlin's RBI double in the second was it came off of Cal State Dominguez starter Dimitri De La Fuente (2-1), who coming into the game had only allowed one earned run all season and was holding opponents to a .173 batting average.
"I just went up there looking for something middle-away, and (De La Fuente threw it) right down the middle, a little up, (so) I just turned on it," said McLaughlin about his fifth hit of the year.
The Warriors added insurance runs in the sixth thanks to three errors in the inning by the Toros, including a throwing miscue by third baseman Danny Haley that allowed Klayton Miller to score from second and make it 3-0.
Clint Brill caught all seven innings of Graham's masterpiece and also had two hits in the game.