Baseball, Men's Sports, Sports

LBSU reloads rotation with JC transfers

Coming off one of the most successful seasons under head coach Troy Buckley, the Long Beach State baseball team will have to rely on its inexperienced pitching staff to reach the postseason again.

The Dirtbags lost three starters to graduation and the MLB Draft. Colorado Rockies drafted right-hander Andrew Rohrbach in the ninth round. The Los Angeles Angels picked All-American right-hander Josh Frye 11th round, and left-hander Nick Sabo went to the San Francisco Giants in the 28th round.

“It’s not just one or two guys [that have to step up],” sophomore shortstop Garrett Hampson said when asked how the team is going to make up for so much lost production.

“I think the whole collection of the new guys have really stepped in here and started figuring some things out,” Hampson said. “I think each one brings a little something to the team. It’s really going to be exciting to watch this year.”

Among those young pitchers expected to make an impact are junior right-handers Trey Ferketic and Tanner Brown. Both pitchers are community college transfers and have never played against consistent Division I competition.

Junior catcher Eric Hutting said he would have a big responsibility, in terms of handling and guiding the staff when they get into trouble.

“We have a young staff with not a lot of experience coming back,” Hutting said. “I think we have a good staff that knows what they’re doing. We have a really good pitching coach that has created a good mindset for all our young pitchers coming in.”

Hutting said the most impressive new starter he’s seen is Ferketic, the transfer from Saddleback Community College in nearby Laguna Niguel. Hutting said Ferketic’s “stuff” has stood out the most in his mind, and that his improvement from fall 2014 has really stood out.

Junior right-hander Ty Provencher is one of the few experienced pitchers returning to the Dirtbags in 2015. The 2014 All-Big West Second Team selection said he and other upperclassmen have taken a leadership role this year, trying to set an example for the younger guys.

“[Senior right-hander Kyle] Friedrichs shows by example,” Provencher said. “I would say I’m more vocal and pushier. The thing I’m learning is to identify other personalities, see how they react to what I’m saying. All our leaders have our roles. They complement mine as I complement theirs.”

Hampson said it would be up to the young staff to learn as they go, that he or any of the experienced guys can’t do their job for them. Hutting reiterated Hampson’s message, saying there is a standard the new pitchers will have to meet if they are going to be successful.

“Just demanding a mindset of throwing strikes and forcing contact,” Hutting said. “And not giving up any free opportunities. That’s the biggest thing. Going out and competing with the stuff that they have.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Daily 49er newsletter