John Doxakis, Texas A&M (Kendall Rogers)


Doxakis, Lodolo Starts Highlight Shriner’s Action


HOUSTON — Dominant pitching performances underscored the first day of the Shriners College Classic. In an event saturated with draft talent, many of the highly regarded names showed well on Friday, particularly in the mound.

Texas State and Rice set the tempo to open up the weekend, with the Bobcats ultimately outlasting the Owls in a 1-0 battle of aces. Texas State RHP Nicholas Fraze silenced opposing bats, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a ground ball single past a diving shortstop to Owls 3B Braden Comeaux. Tall and lean with sloping shoulders, Fraze uses a simple repeatable delivery to challenge hitters in the strike zone. He located his 89-90 mph fastball to both sides of the plate, working ahead in counts all afternoon before putting hitters away with a plus slider at 79-82. While the fastball velocity is below average, he showed above average command of the offering, and the effectiveness was further augmented with some arm-side run in on the hands of righthanded hitters. With late tilt and 10-to-4 movement, the junior successfully manipulated his slider at will, backdooring lefties off the plate in one inning and burying it in the dirt to generate swinging strikes in the next. Fraze struck out 12 on the day, allowing just one hit over seven scoreless innings to earn his second victory of the season.

Rice RHP Matt Canterino was equally impressive despite suffering the tough luck loss, scattering four hits while allowing just one unearned run over seven innings and striking out nine. Canterino has a mature build, with broad square shoulders that doesn’t allow much room for additional projection. There’s a moderate-to-high level of effort in his herky-jerky delivery, which concludes with a head whack as he falls off the mound to the first base side. Despite the unorthodox mechanics, he gets downhill, repeats his delivery well, and his ability to maintain a consistent release point translates to plus command. His fastball touched 93 a pair of times in the first and sat comfortably in the 90-92 mph range throughout the outing. He missed bats routinely with his slider, an 85-to-87 mph pitch with depth and two-plane break. While he worked primarily off his fastball and slider, he did show couple of average curveballs at 76-77 mph.

When the defense behind Canterino made a couple of errors in the seventh, Texas State OF Will Hollis drove in the lone run of the game with an RBI double to lead the Bobcats to victory.

– The #7 prospect on our Top 350 College Prospects list, TCU lefty Nick Lodolo was outstanding in the afternoon slate, allowing just one run on two hits over seven innings while striking out 13. Tall, with a lean athletic build, the junior has a prototypical pitchers frame with room to add good weight as he matures. Lodolo kept Houston off balance, establishing a fastball that sat comfortably in the 92-93 mph range for the duration of the outing (periodically touching 94), and following it up with a pair of quality breaking balls. He appears to be very comfortable throwing his sweeping, slurvy 80-82 mph curveball in any count and to either quadrant of the plate, while his newly developed slider is a formidable weapon as well. Coming in harder and tighter at 86-88 mph, he used the slide piece to elicit swings and misses from lefties and righties alike. There’s a good amount of deception in Lodolo’s delivery, as he hides his grip in the windup, keeping his front shoulder closed late into the process. He appeared to briefly lose his release point intermittently later in the outing. FIrst, in the sixth inning he walked the leadoff hitter on four straight pitches, and then again in the seventh he threw a fastball that caught too much plate to Houston 3B Jared Triolo that was promptly deposited into the left field seats. In both incidents, however, Lodolo was able to compose himself and keep the damage to a minimum.


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