Luke Heimlich, Oregon State

Oregon State's Luke Heimlich continues to do big things. (OSU photo)


OSU’s Heimlich Shows Extra Gear


SURPRISE, Ariz. — Oregon State lefty Luke Heimlich reached back and fired a fastball that rang up a “91” on the Surprise Stadium scoreboard radar gun. A 91 mph fastball isn’t necessarily impressive for a Friday starter. The top-tier arms are often at least 94 mph.

The 91 wasn’t impressive by itself, but it was the timing. After Heimlich had been 91-92 in the first inning, touching 93 a couple of times, he settled in first at 89-91 and then 85-89 in the sixth and seventh innings. But when he needed it, the Beavers’ junior southpaw reached back for a little extra. It was something he did repeatedly in his seven innings — five of which he had to work around a runner in scoring position — in a 10-1 win over Nebraska Thursday afternoon in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge.

“I like to be max effort,” Heimlich said. “I always want to try to throw things hard, but then when you get into a big situation or two strikes and you really want to punch a guy out, there’s always a little more adrenaline that you can go for.”

Most college pitchers are max effort at all times. It is becoming more and more rare to see pitchers willing to give up miles per hour in order to be a more effective pitcher that can reach back when needed.

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