Carter Holton is injured. He will not pitch at the NCAA Nashville Regional this weekend at Hawkins Field. He might not pitch if Commodores continue to play beyond this weekend. This probability got a bit more likely after Friday night's 12-2 thrashing of Eastern Illinois.
Futrell (8-3), who has a record of 8-3, has repaid Corbin's trust by striking out seven batters and allowing only two runs in five innings. The left-hander did not walk a single batter.64 of his 89 pitches were strikes.
This is a huge bonus for any regional, but it's especially important for the Commodores whose pitching staff, which was short-handed, was pushed to its limits last week by playing five games in five nights in order to win the SEC Tournament championship. Vanderbilt didn't want to exhaust its pitching staff against Eastern Illinois.
The last time Vanderbilt reached the College World Series, two seasons ago, it was led prodigiously by Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. They were the latest in a long line of big-league starting pitchers to throw gems for Corbin’s Commodores well into June.
He was the only starter in the Commodore's weekend rotation who was healthy and effective. Hunter Owen played a few innings against Hoover, and will likely start Saturday's regional matchup against Oregon.
College baseball is currently a fan of pitchers who can throw hard. The buzzword "velo", short for velocity, is becoming more popular in the game. It seems like every pitcher in the top programs is velo-qualified, which means he can throw in at the mid-90s. At least. Some regularly reach 100 mph. Former Tennessee pitcher Ben Joyce's college speed was 105.5 mph.
Speeds that were once considered exceptional in college baseball are now standard. In a Washington Post article about this trend, Mike McFerran, the "pitching laboratory coordinator" of top NCAA seed Wake Forest, was quoted as saying: "If you want high-level baseball you have to throw harder."It's now a requirement.
Vanderbilt disagrees. Futrell throws at a low 90s but is playing high-level ball for one of the best programs in the country by changing speeds, spins, and relying on his formidable change-up.
Futrell allowed a triple and double in the first six pitches of the game against the Panthers. He settled down and retired 13 out of the next fourteen hitters. This allowed the Commodores to take early control of a match that Vanderbilt had made as difficult as they wanted.
Futrell then attended the press conference after the game, along with Corbin and Davis Diaz. The players were still present when their coach praised Vanderbilt’s starting pitcher for helping to secure Vanderbilt’s first win in the NCAA Tournament.
Corbin said that Futrell always had the ability to change up, whether he was taught by his father or self-taught. His dad was also a college football player."If you're left-handed and can change up and spin a ball well, you have a good chance of being pretty good," Corbin said.