SoCal Dispatches: Iowa, Cal State Fullerton Bounce Back, Aztecs Keep RollingAt The Ballpark
SAN DIEGO — Grant Judkins had a tough decision to make, but after going undrafted following his junior year, he decided to give up his dual-threat aspirations. He chose to focus solely on pitching after being a two-way player his first three seasons at Iowa.
“He made a commitment to try to make an improvement and have a chance to play pro ball as a pitcher,” Iowa head coach Rick Heller said. “He stayed back this summer and worked really hard to try to put on some weight, some more strength, just got away from the hitting, try to get his velo up and I think that’s helped.”
It’s a decision that has paid dividends early this season as the 6’3”, 220-pound righthander already has half as many wins as he had the entire 2018 campaign. Judkins picked up his second “W” in as many starts, shutting down the Arizona offense Saturday at Fowler Park, holding the Wildcats to two hits and a walk in six innings. He had six strikeouts in the Hawkeyes’ 4-1 victory.
The senior mixed his pitches well with an 87-91 fastball and three different off-speed offerings. His changeup at 79-83 mph was particularly effective at keeping Arizona’s hitters off balance. It showed late life, diving armside, away from left-handed batters, who accounted for five of his six strikeouts. The changeup is Judkins’ best pitch and exactly why Heller believed Judkins could have success against a hard-hitting Wildcats lineup.
“I thought it was a super matchup for him with the changeup from what we’d seen on video. He needed to be able to throw it whenever he needed and he did today. It really, really showed,” Heller said. “When he’s on like that, he’s tough to hit.”
You’ll have to forgive Arizona’s Ryan Holgate if he felt a little like a rookie quarterback making his first start in the NFL. Every time he looked up on Saturday, Iowa had switched up their defensive look like Dick Lebeau was disguising zone blitz coverages
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