HOUSTON—Like everyone else in Minute Maid Park on Saturday afternoon, Missouri coach Tim Jamieson saw why Texas Christian lefthander Matt Purke was a first-round pick out of high school last June.
"Great stuff. I was obviously impressed with him," Jamieson said. "No question, he's the real deal."
Purke had the best start of his young college career, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven over 5 1/3 innings. He earned a no-decision, as the TCU bullpen coughed up a two-run lead in the eighth inning, but th Horned Frogs won in extra innings, 4-3.
It was a sloppy finish, filled with baserunning gaffes by both sides, but Purke was the big story.
"It's a shame Purke didn't get a win, but certainly he pitched really well and threw a lot of strikes, and got his breaking ball over," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "He's just like any other pitcher: You can't pitch with just your fastball."
Purke's fastball was awfully good, sitting at 91-93 and touching 94. He used it to put away four of his strikeout victims, and he used his stellar 82-84 changeup to get an early strikeout. But the other two punchouts came on his 77-80 power curveball—and that's a significant development.
"The big difference (from when he arrived in the fall) is his breaking ball," Schlossnagle said. "He didn't really have one he could commit to and be tough on righties and lefties. He's had the good changeup, he's had decent fastball command and obviously life to his fastball, but today he was able to throw his breaking ball for strikes and throw it out of the zone. It's a curveball, but it's pretty firm. He's starting to be able to throw it inner half and outer half and finish it out of the zone."
Purke said he felt better than he did in his first two outings, against Sam Houston State and Cal State Fullerton.
"I felt good out there today," he said. "It was a nice warm day, the sun came out, so I was able to have a good sweat out there and just throw. I felt like I had all my pitches today and we made the right plays at the right time . . . We looked to get strike one every time, and we looked to pound the zone with fastballs, and then we looked away with offspeeds later in counts."
In one of the more anticipated pitching matchups of the weekend, Missouri countered with junior righthander Nick Tepesch, a power pitcher in his own right. Tepesch has steadily improved in each of his three outings this season, giving up six runs over five innings in his debut against Washington, then five runs over six innings in a win against Gonzaga last week. He was considerably better Saturday, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings.
Tepesch did not show the mid-90s heat he has flashed in the past, intead working at 88-92 mph, but Jamieson said that is harder than he threw the last two weeks.
"I'm not trying to make excuses for him, but he still hasn't really been outside much," Jamieson said. "All of our pitchers right now, the velocity's down a little bit, and I'm hoping the velocity climbs."
Tepesch did show good feel with all of his pitches. His 80-84 mph changeup was effective against lefties and righties alike, and he was able to run his cutter in under the hands of lefthanded hitters and throw his breaking ball for strikes against righties.
"I thought he pitched real well," Jamieson said. "The thing that I saw today was when he got into trouble, he had another gear he could go to, and we hadn't seen that out of him this year. Each start's gotten a little better, and this is certainly the best team he's pitched against, so I thought he pitched well."
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog