Pelfrey K’s 14

Wichita State sophomore ace Mike Pelfrey pitched a gem today in the first game of the NCAA Regionals, beating Missouri 3-0. He pitched 8.2 shutout innings, struck out 14, and allowed just 4 hits.

The win runs Pelfrey’s 2004 record to 11-2, with a 2.18 ERA, 125 strikeouts, and 24 walks in 115.1 innings.

Postscript: Pelfrey threw 128 pitches today, but I’m not really worried about that. Why? Well, I’m told he was in a groove, with no laboring or anything. I think there’s a clear difference between 128 pitches in 8.2 phenomenal innings and 124 pitches in 6+ laborious innings (which is what Pelfrey threw a couple starts ago).

It’s also interesting to note that Tommy Hottovy pitched the last 1/3 inning of the game. Apparently pitching coach Brent Kemnitz said going into the ninth that he’d pull Pelfrey if he allowed a baserunner. When he did, Hottovy (a senior) took the mound and finished things off. Hottovy has been a lights-out reliever all year, but was pressed into the rotation in the last month and has been excellent.

A big question head coach Gene Stephenson is facing is, do you start Hottovy tomorrow against Arkansas after he pitched (briefly) today, or go with freshman Kris Johnson (5-0, 2.02 ERA, 53 SO in 58 innings)? I’d go with Johnson, and save Hottovy for a must-win situation on Sunday.

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