Hopefully Stanford lefty Quinn Mathews, who was selected in the 19th round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays but decided to return to school for his senior season, stays healthy and goes on to have a long, successful career pitching in the majors. For that to happen, though, the standout senior probably shouldn’t continue doing what he did yesterday while leading Stanford (43-18) to an 8-3 victory over Texas (42-21) in the super-regional matchup that will decide which school advances to the Men’s College World Series.
On the mound for Stanford, in what could be his final collegiate appearance depending on how tonight’s rubber match between the two teams plays out, Mathews struck out a career-high 16 Texas hitters in a complete-game win. In the process, he tossed a ridiculous 156 pitches. The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, who scattered eight hits and a walk to get the win on Sunday, has thrown at least 100 pitches in 15 of his 17 starts this season and runs the risk of blowing out his arm and requiring Tommy John surgery if he isn’t careful.
In an era where starting pitchers in the majors rarely throw 100 pitchers, what Mathews did against Texas is an anomaly. In MLB this season, there have only been 15 complete games and there is only one pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi of the Texas Rangers, with more than one. As for the 156 pitches, no one in the majors has thrown that many since knuckleballer Tim Wakefield did in 1997. Prior to that, the last non-knuckleballer to hurl a baseball at home plate 156 times in a game was 33-year-old Roger Clemens in 1996.
“I told ’em I was good to go,” Mathews said. “It wasn’t like they weren’t going to try and take the rock out of my hand.” They certainly didn’t and it will be interesting to see if that decision ends up impacting how pro teams evaluate Mathews and his future prospects going forward.
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As for Mathrews’s future, besides spending plenty of time with an ice pack, MLB.com has him ranked as the No. 119 overall prospect heading into the draft in July. Fingers crossed his arm is still attached.
With Wake Forest, LSU, Virginia and Oral Robert all already booked for trips to the Men’s College World Series yesterday, the final two spots are up for grabs and will be claimed by the winners of Tennessee-Southern Miss and Texas-Stanford tonight.