Heimlich Dominates In Final Home StartAt The Ballpark
CORVALLIS, OR — This was the end of the line for the Luke Heimlich domination train. More than likely his home field here in Corvallis saw him throw his final home pitch today.
The senior lefty made his last start at Goss Stadium a special one. He ran into very little trouble, used his reliable defenders behind him and threw into the ninth inning, giving up one run on seven hits with nine punch outs in a 124-pitch effort.
Yes, he pitched with a purpose today. He pitched like a guy who should’ve been a first round Major League draft pick but did not have his phone ring this past week at all. It wasn’t his most dominant effort of the season, but it was his most efficient and could not have come at a better time.
The only glitch on his day was a solo shot home run from the Gopher designated hitter Toby Hanson in the eighth inning. His defense bailed him out a couple of times,
With his team up 8-1 and two out in the ninth inning, Heimlich was pulled. And of course he exited to a rousing applause from the Orange and Black faithful. He also made about 23 stops to hug his fellow players on his way to the dugout. Heimlich then took a seat and sat back for a second. As the fans clamored for a curtain call, his teammates informed him that they were chanting his name. A few seconds later, after a little goading, he emerged from the dugout and took three waves to the crowd on each side of the stadium.
When asked about his teammates reaction to hearing the crowd chant, he said, “They told me I had to go out and do the curtain call. I didn’t notice the fans were calling for me.”
The lefty earned his 16th win of the season and realized this was his final start on the Coleman Field mound.
“Going in, I knew it’d be my last start here at home,” Heimlich said. “So it was a little bit emotional coming out of the game at the end and giving everybody hugs and telling them I love them. I love this place, it has helped me grow into the person I want to become.”
There is no doubt that this has been a tumultuous career as an Oregon State Beaver. We all know the off-the-field issues that have made him a Sports Illustrated cover boy, and not in the best way.
But on the field, Heimlich has been a lock-down arm and far worthy of any All American status. He goes into a possible trip to Omaha with a 16-1 record and an ERA of 2.23 and a climbing total of 151 strikeouts. If something crazy happens and Heimlich has suddenly seen his last start of his Beaver career, he’d end it with a 36-11 record, a 2.28 ERA and 377 strikeouts.