Traditionally, if you’re looking for world-beating college baseball pitching match-ups, head down to the park on a Friday. However, whether coaches are gearing up their rotations for postseason play—where the first game of the opening rounds in both conference and national tournaments are often against the easiest team you will face—or due to the natural wildness of young pitchers who can dial it up to 95mph, fans are finding more intriguing pitching match-ups on Saturdays this spring.
Patrick “Mad Dog” Raby threw a solid 6 and 2⁄3 IP in a 5-2 win last night against his Missourah Friday night counterpart, Cole “The Pear” Bartlett. Scouts were likely there, sure, to catch a glimpse at Jeren Kendall, Jason Delay, and Reed Hayes, and to file Julian “Chinfante” Infante’s bat away for next year (his bases clearing 3B pretty much won the game for us). However, expect the stands to be packed full of more scouts this afternoon than when Albert Brooks hosted a showcase of the 100mph throwing, home run hitting, bat-shit loony Steve Nebraska. Why? Look no further than the mound.
Coming into the year, Wright and Houck were both considered strong contenders for a top 5 draft slot this June. Both underperformed to open the season, and saw their stock tumble. Wright, on the back of solid SEC play and a three hit complete game shutout against the Florida Jortsmen (9 IP, 0 R, 3 H 13 K), is once again the top college arm available.
Houck has not made such a fast rise back into prominence of late, but if you don’t think he has the arm talent to do so, you haven’t watched him pitch much in the last three years. Houck, who is 6’5” and 218 lbs, both looks and pitches like former Missourah wunderkind, and Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer. He sits in the low to mid 90s with hard-boring action on his two seam fastball. When he can spot it for strikes, good luck doing anything with that pitch but pounding it deep into the cold, cold ground (as deep as I will have to be buried before I recognize Missourah).
Saturday, May 6, 2pm CT SECN+
Vanderbilt Jr. RHP Kyle “The Movement” Wright (2-5, 3.66 ERA)
vs. RHP Tanner “The Ultimate Boring Machine” Houck (3-7, 3.19 ERA)
See you in the comments.