99 pitches, but a run ain’t one.
Kyle Wright entered 2017 as a pre-season All-American and legitimate contender to go 1st overall in the MLB draft. Tonight, he pitched like one.
One night after the bullpen squandered a solid performance by Patrick Raby, surrendering 5 runs in the top of the 9th to lose 10-6, Kyle Wright knew he would have to go deep in this game.
Further, facing Florida sophomore RHP Brady Singer, Wright knew he would have to limit the runs allowed.
In short, he did. Wright rode an A+ slider and a fastball that was clocked at 95mph in the 8th and 94mph in the 9th to a complete game 3H shutout with 13 Ks and 0 BBs. He was solid in each and every inning, throwing no more than 18 pitches in any frame. He threw strikes, he kept hitters off balance, he threw his slider for first strike pitches... in general, he dominated, and shook off a rough start to the beginning of this year.
Though Vanderbilt hitters notched 10 hits off Singer, the return of the Vander-bunt (that started in the USC series last week) played an important role. In the 5th inning, Vanderbilt broke through on the scoreboard with a suicide squeeze by 9 hole hitter Connor Kaiser, which plated senior catcher Jason “The Rain” Delay.
In the bottom of the 7th, Delay led off with a single. Ethan “Chili P” Paul, who returned to the lineup with a protective cage after breaking his nose a few weeks back, faked multiple slug bunts and then laced one between the SS and 3B with two strikes. Connor Kaiser had the same approach at the plate as Paul, and had the same results - after attempting to bunt and faking a bunt, Kaiser laced a single to load the bases. Jeren Kendall lined out to the CF to plate Delay for a 2-0 lead on the first pitch.
On this night, for Kyle Wright, that would be enough.
If Vanderbilt manages to put it all together this season, and coalesce for another deep post-season run, look to this game, and Wright’s performance, as the catalyst.
We play Florida tomorrow at 2pm at The Hawk for the rubber match. No word yet as to whom Corbs will trust with the ball on the mound.