MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Freshman right-handed pitcher Carson Estridge made his first-career start against Pitt at PNC Park back on April 19.
He only went 2.1 innings and gave up five hits, three earned runs and struck out six. The following four pitchers combined to shutout out the Panthers over the final six innings en route to the 9-4 win.
Two weeks later, Estridge got the nod again in the Backyard Brawl but this time it was played on his home diamond.
He got his revenge on Wednesday night as he went a career-high four innings. He allowed just three hits and no earned runs. He also fanned a career-best seven batters in his third victory of the season.
“It felt awesome. In the original outing, I still had a lot of strikeouts, but it feels good to be able to come out here, do my thing and get the strikeouts with no runs,” Estridge said.
According to the Virginia native, the biggest difference from that first clash with the Panthers was his fastball placement.
Head coach Randy Mazey said Estridge had every reason to leave the ballpark feeling good about his performance.
“He’s tricky. He doesn’t throw as hard as the other guys but it’s a fastball that is a little bit harder to hit. We just have to get his endurance up,” Mazey said. “He’s just now catching his groove I think, so four innings was about the max for him.”
Estridge felt his velocity decreasing by the fourth inning, as well. Building increased endurance is his focus moving forward so he’s able to go deeper into games in the future, especially in a starting position.
Wednesday marked the righty’s third nod of his career. He’s now made nine appearances total.
For Estridge, the biggest change from being a relief pitcher is the extended time to prepare physically and mentally.
“I was probably in the weight room about one hour and 30 minutes before getting my stretches in, getting dynamic and all the arm care,” Estridge said. “When you are coming from the pen, it’s you are right there, get five minutes and then boom, you go.”
With one more midweek tune up on the schedule, it’s likely Estridge will get one more opportunity to build his resume as a starter.
It just so happens that one will also be against Pitt next Wednesday.