Waco newspaper article on the two freshmen starting pitchers

Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by True Colors, Jun 8, 2003.

  1. True Colors

    True Colors Freshman

    Jun 8, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Nice comparison/contrast of the two freshmen pitchers going for the Tigers and Bears on Sunday. Thought you guys might like to see this.

    TC(a Baylor fan)

    LINK - freshmen pitchers face off in final game


    Tribune-Herald staff writer

    BATON ROUGE, La. — Baylor coach Steve Smith would love for a monsoon to roll over Alex Box Stadium and delay the Super Regional finale until tonight.

    Freshman pitcher Mark McCormick can be almost unhittable under the lights. But Smith will take his chances with his talented freshman when Baylor meets LSU today at 1:35 p.m. for a trip to the College World Series.

    Smith doesn’t expect McCormick to be rattled by a sellout crowd in one of the rowdiest ballparks in the country.

    “I don’t think Mark’s success will have anything to do with the arena,” Smith said. “That hasn’t affected him all year. He’s either going to throw strikes and be tough to hit or he won’t. But he’s coming off a great outing, and that should help him.”

    With Baylor needing a win to reach the Big 12 Tournament final, McCormick dominated Nebraska with a two-hit, eight-strikeout performance. In seven innings, McCormick walked four batters while allowing one earned run to lift the Bears to a 6-2 win.

    McCormick hasn’t pitched since the Nebraska game that started in the late hours of May 24 and ended early the next morning. If the Bears had gone to a fourth game in the Hattiesburg Regional, McCormick would have started.

    With a fastball that’s been clocked at 99 mph, McCormick (6-2) has the stuff to blow away any hitter. The key will be whether he can control his pitches. The right-hander has walked 45 batters in 59 innings.

    “We’ve got to score early and rattle him and get him thinking,” said LSU first baseman Clay Harris. “We need to put them away early and show them which team is in command.”

    In contrast, LSU starter Justin Meier (7-3) is a finesse pitcher with outstanding control. The freshman right-hander has walked just 23 batters in 86 1/3 innings while compiling the third-lowest ERA in the Southeastern Conference at 2.61.

    Meier was LSU’s Friday night starter throughout most of the SEC schedule, and is accustomed to big-game pressure. However, he hasn’t pitched since May 25 when he lost the SEC Tournament championship game to Alabama despite allowing only three unearned runs in 6 1/3 innings.

    “Justin has pitched in a lot of big games, and I know he’ll be ready mentally,” said LSU coach Smoke Laval. “He throws about 86 mph and can get three pitches over for strikes.”

    After coming from behind for Saturday’s 6-5 win, the Tigers believe they have the momentum heading into the final game. But they know they can’t cruise against a powerful offensive team like Baylor.

    “We’ve got to be more aggressive than we’ve been,” said LSU third baseman Ivan Naccarata, who hit Saturday’s game-winning homer in the eighth. “We’ve had too much of a defensive attitude at the plate. We’ve got the momentum now, and we can’t give it up.”

    Baylor centerfielder Chris Durbin would like to see the Bears deliver more offensive punch. Baylor’s nine runs in the first two games are far below the usual production.

    “We know it’s going to be a very intense game with emotions running high on both teams,” Durbin said. “But we just need to relax and swing the bats the way we can.”

Share This Page