There are pitching duels, and then their are pitching duels featuring two undefeated Aces on top 10 teams. Drake Fellows was on last night, going 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K. Beyond the numbers, the Safari Planet was spinning it—flat-out missing bats with whiffle-ball throws aplenty.
Fellows’ lone run allowed was on a bleeder up the middle in the 2nd by Arky’s worst hitter, C Casey Opitz.
His counterpart, RS Jr. Isaiah “Soup” Campbell, was dealing. He was on the mound for all but one Arky defensive out recorded, going 7 and 2⁄3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 9 K of hyper efficient mound-work. Campbell’s split-finger was on last night, and he did not deserve the loss.
He still got it, though, as a tough luck 4th plated two. With one out, down one, the frontrunner for SEC POTY, JJ Bleday, ripped a single to right. New cleanup hitter Ethan “Chili P” Paul hit one juuuuuuust in front of a diving Christian Franklin—who had racked up web gems aplenty aside from this one play—which got past the left fielder, and plated Bleday. Philip “Used to be Mel” Clarke followed with a double over the 1st base bag to plate Chili P and take the lead.
Campbell would allow another tough luck run in the 6th, as Austin Martin kicked up chalk on a triple down the RF line. Bleday followed with a casual sac fly to provide all the runs we would need.
Of course, though Fellows and Brown would make it look easy, we all had to endure the white-knuckle thriller that is Zach King in a close game.
King did his now predictable shaken-confidence-can’t-find-the-strike-zone routine in the 8th inning—walking two and plunking one, while recording only one out. Corbs and Brownie left him in at least one batter (I would argue two) past it being frighteningly obvious King just didn’t have it, but thankfully went to The Delivery Man one pitch from letting the game get away from us.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Brown is the best closer in college baseball hands down. He could be in a MLB pen right now. Brown is in peak Kenny Powers form right now, and everyone he faces is Reg Macworthy’s eye.
Brown came in with the bases juiced, with an ump squeezing pitchers on the corners, and was calmer than the Dalai Lama on vacation.
His first batter, freshman Jacob Nesbit, plated one on an excuse me dribbler off the cap of the bat to Chinfante, who gladly traded a run for an out, and jogged to first for the unassisted putout.
The aforementioned Opitz would come up later, in the top of the 8th, Hogs down one, runners on 2nd and 3rd. This time, he faced a beam of pure energy, known in the human realm as Vanderbilt closer Tyler “The Delivery Man” Brown.
Brown then said, “Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-lagunga” and promised Orpitz would receive total consciousness on his death bed.
In the 9th, Brown calmly K’d both freshman OF Christian Franklin and leadoff hitter RS Sr. 1B Trevor Ezell, before inducing a weak foul pop-up to Austin Martin from Arky’s best power hitter, So. OF Heston Kjerstad, to end it.
Brown not only saved that game, but did so as a sentient placid lake—as a human Zen Koan.
So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.
See you at noon for game two, when freshman fireballer Kumar “Harold” Rocker unloads a Crave Case of high, stinky cheddar.
*Update: Today’s Lineup