Marlins’ Justin Storm Excels In Big Spots


When he pitched for Southern Mississippi, lefthander Justin Storm faced Louisiana State superstar Dylan Crews in the 2022 Hattiesburg Regional.

Crews lined a single to left in his first at-bat.

Next time up, Storm left a slider up but Crews chased it for a strikeout.

The Golden Eagles staved off elimination that day with an 8-4 win. Storm earned the victory, pitching five scoreless innings against a loaded LSU lineup. He allowed two hits and one walk while striking out seven.

“That was the turning point of (Storm’s) career,” said Scott Berry, who recently retired as Southern Miss coach.

Storm carried that momentum into 2023. The 21-year-old reliever recorded eight saves and a 2.36 ERA. He struck out 72 and walked 17 in 45.2 innings.

Storm again turned it up in the postseason. In a super regional against Tennessee, he picked up the win by pitching 4.1 innings of one-run relief, striking out five.

“I like the idea of running to the fire and not away from it,” Storm said. “I can’t be afraid or nervous (in big spots). I have to attack like it’s a fall intrasquad.”

The Marlins drafted the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Storm in the seventh round.

He is a classic late-bloomer who didn’t make his Mississippi high school varsity team as a sophomore, pitched just 11 innings as a junior reliever and got just two frames in 2020 before the pandemic shut down the season.

Because Storm focused on basketball as a prep, he would show up to baseball a bit behind his teammates. He didn’t receive Division I offers for basketball, so he took a baseball opportunity offered by Southern Miss.

Storm throws a 91-94 mph fastball and an 83-86 slider, and he has a fresh arm after throwing a total of 70 innings in three collegiate seasons.

“I can’t wait to see where he’s at in two years,” said USM coach Christian Ostrander, who was previously the program’s pitching guru. “I will be shocked if he doesn’t make the majors soon.”

For the Marlins, that would be a perfect Storm.

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