HOUSTON—In Friday's loss to Texas, Rice's ballyhooed duo of sophomore righthanders—Austin Kubitza and John Simms—lacked their best stuff, and they struggled.
On Saturday, senior righty Matthew Reckling lacked his best stuff, too, but he was able to turn in a quality outing anyway, gutting his way through 6 2/3 innings and allowing just a pair of first-inning runs and four hits in a 6-2 win against Texas Tech.
"I really appreciate what he did. He started weak, but then he came on strong," Rice coach Wayne Graham said. "A creditable outing, when he didn't have his best stuff. He can throw a little harder than that, his curveball can be a little sharper than that, but he used his changeup some, and it was pretty good."
In his first two dominating outings this season, Reckling threw harder than he did Saturday night, when his fastball ranged from 86-91 mph. But of course, Reckling had struggled even when he had good velocity in years past because his command of his fastball was inconsistent. It was a more effective pitch Saturday, even without its best velocity.
"I think I have a lot more movement on my fastball this year," Reckling said. "Last year I threw a lot of four-seams, today I only threw two-seams. Sometimes I'll elevate a four-seam to get it by someone. On the (three) guys that I hit, those were four-seams. So I was like, I'm only throwing two-seams, which I've been doing all year. It's been running a lot, and just trying to keep guys off, move the fastball around."
Reckling's downer curveball, which sat at 78-79 Saturday, is usually his putaway pitch, but the Red Raiders were able to put it in play a number of times, so he leaned more on an 81-82 changeup with decent depth. That's another mark of Reckling's maturation.
"I can't remember the last time I didn't have that breaking ball just to put guys away," Reckling said. "I didn't have it today, so I knew I had to pitch. I think the changeup was huge . . . I've been working on it—my last outing I probably threw it 15 times. I therw it a lot tonight. Tonight I feel like I really got the feel for it, to where it's becoming a swing-and-miss pitch. So that's encouraging."
The Owls needed a pick-me-up from Reckling after their disheartening mound performance Friday. Fortunately, Reckling has transformed himself from a talented thrower with questionable feel for pitching into an increasingly refined pitcher who knows how to win. He said the key to his development has been getting his body, mind and stuff all in sync.
"When all of those things work together, it's a beautiful thing," he said. "Just knowing your body; I would say tonight I didn't have my best stuff, but my mind was straight, and I knew my body. I knew I had to make some adjustments on the fly. It definitely wasn't the easiest outing. I was pleased with my pitchability.
"Coach Graham always says, 'Be an unshakeable pitcher,' and that's kind of a mark of a mature pitcher—when he doesn't have his stuff he can still get guys out, and I just hope to be a leader for this team."
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