Nate Fisher knows the feeling.
All three of his pitches are finding the strike zone.
He sets three batters down, then walks with a laser focus back to the dugout from the mound.
He sets his hat and glove to the left side of the bench, in the same spot they were the inning before.
When his team has two outs in its half of the inning, he goes through his upper and lower body stretches, the same way every time.
No one is talking to him in the dugout.
It’s easy for the mind to race in the moment, but it’s not easy to do what Fisher was doing.
Eight no-hit innings, against the No. 21 team in the nation, no less.
“It was an interesting feeling,” Fisher said. “I was just cruising along. I kind of got to five (innings) then through six and I was like ‘Whoa.’ It was uncharted waters.”
It sure was.
The Nebraska senior’s longest outing before Saturday’s eight strong against Baylor was five innings.
But it wasn’t his first time flirting with a no-no.
“I threw two in high school, but obviously nothing at this level,” Fisher said.
“It’s something I hadn’t I really put much thought to. I kind of just got in a groove and innings were rolling by.”
Fisher had sat down 16 straight Baylor batters to open up the contest, before walking Ryan Bertelsman to toss his chances for a perfect game out the window with one out in the sixth.
Fisher worked around an error in the Bears' half of the sixth to keep his best outing in a Husker uniform going.
“He put it all together,” Nebraska coach Darin Erstad said. “He was mixing all his pitches and just was executing at a super-high level. He had all three pitches working and did a really good job of getting low in the zone and elevating when he needed to. It was sure fun to watch.”
He hit the Bears’ Davion Downey in the bottom of the seventh, but got out of the inning unscathed.
That’s when the decision-making that was outside of the Husker left-hander’s control came in.
Erstad said the talks of pulling Fisher started to swirl after the seventh.
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“But he just keeps getting people out.”
For Fisher, there was nothing different.
“In between innings I kind of just try to unwind,” Fisher said, “and that’s what was happening there. Just take a deep breath and relax.”
Erstad gave him the nod to go out for the eighth, and he capitalized.
Three Baylor batters up, three down. Six pitches thrown to push his game total to 82.
Then, the thought of putting Fisher on the mound for the ninth really started to sink into Erstad’s thoughts.
Erstad said the eighth went so quickly and Baylor had a lefty, Richard Cunningham, leading off the ninth.
“What the heck, let’s give him a shot,” Erstad said as he recalled the situation.
Then, after 82 pitches through eight innings of work, it slipped away quickly.
Fisher plunked Cunningham on a 1-0 pitch to lead off the ninth.
His day was done.
“I definitely wanted to keep going,” Fisher said. “Just ’cause I wanted to keep pitching, I guess. But I totally understand the situation. It was a huge game and we were right in the heart of their order for the fourth time.”
Erstad walked out to the mound and told the senior he did a “hell of a job and that he was really proud of me,” Fisher said.
In came reliever Robbie Palkert, and with two outs in the ninth, Baylor finally broke through with a single to break up the combined no-hitter.
Nevertheless, Fisher’s outing resulted in a 2-0 victory and a series win against No. 21 Baylor.
Pitcher Curry out
Connor Curry didn’t pitch at all last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2017 and he will not return to the Husker mound for an extended period of time with what Erstad called a “significant” injury to his right elbow.
“We’re not ready to say that (it's season-ending) quite yet,” Erstad said, “but it’s a repaired elbow that is damaged and we’ve had a lot of those. But we’ve never had a recurrence of it.”
If Curry’s injury requires another Tommy John surgery, it would be the seventh on the Husker staff since 2016. Fisher had the surgery in 2016 as well.