OSU’s Heimlich Commands RespectColumns
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State lefthander Luke Heimlich commands so much respect that what the opposing head coach says about him in the postgame press conference becomes the story.
Heimlich has developed into one of the great success stories in college baseball over the past year. He arrived at Oregon State as a guy with a low-to-mid 80s fastball and has since blossomed into a premier lefty with a legitimate shot to go in the top two rounds of the MLB draft.
He showed the many scouts in attendance and Yale exactly why he’s so heralded in a dominant 11-0 victory to lead the top-seeded Beavers to the regional title game.
Heimlich, a 6-foot-2, 197-pounder, put together another Heimlich-like performance. OSU coach Pat Casey has seen these the entire season. After all, Heimlich has allowed two earned runs just twice this season, while also allowing three total runs twice as well.
Yale coach John Stuper, who’s in his 25th season with the program, had heard all about Heimlich. But he didn’t realize he was this good.
So, after Heimlich struck out eight, walked one and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings against the Bulldogs, Stuper, a former big leaguer, took it upon himself to not make the postgame press conference about himself or his team, but about the sheer brilliance of Heimlich.
He was that good.
“I feel like I need a Heimlich maneuver right now. That kid is legitimate. I’ve been coaching for 25 years, I pitched in the big leagues, and he’s the best pitcher I’ve seen in college baseball,” Stuper said. “He’s going to be a first-round pick to me, without question. He’s the kind of kid I look at and could be drafted now and help some team in the pennant race in a few months.
“He repeats his delivery, his breaking ball is great and he has great composure and stuff,” he continued. “We hit him a couple of times and got some better swings off him, but they made some great plays out there. He’s just one of those guys who never lets you up for air. He just keeps coming at you. I really couldn’t have been more impressed with that young man or the whole OSU team.”
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