Saturday, May 23, 2009

Haven't got time for pain

by Eric Jones - The news of Caleb Cotham’s relegation to the bullpen due to a partially torn left meniscus may have been premature. Cotham was back on the mound today allowing just one run on five hits through seven innings while striking out seven to get a crucial win. It was the first complete game of his college career as his Commodore teammates run-ruled the Razorbacks in seven innings, 11-1.

“To be honest, there was no pain today,” said Cotham who had stymied Arkansas once already back on April 11 in Fayetteville striking out a career-best 12 in a 13-6 victory. “Coach (Corbin) asked me last night if I thought that I could start, and I told him that I felt good about it. We are playing great right now and I knew that if I could pitch well, it would allow us to have just about everyone ready for tomorrow’s game.”

The start for the former Mt. Juliet (TN) High School standout might also serve as an audition for more starts in the post-season. While Cotham has been effective in relief (3.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 K’s in 4 appearances), the prospect of having three legitimate starters with top of the rotation stuff is too good to pass up if the Commodores are able to get into the NCAA Regional picture.

“Now after the fact, we were just trying to see how many innings we could get out of him,” explained Tim Corbin. “I asked him a lot of questions last night, can you pick guys off, can you field bunts, how do you think that your stamina will be going into the fourth or fifth inning? Those were all key components into us making the decision. Now we know that if he is anything close to what he was like today, he can give us good innings and hold his velocity through the sixth or seventh inning.”

In college baseball, the team who has the most arms usually holds the advantage in a tournament. At least through three games, the Commodores will argue that the quality of those arms is actually the key.

(Photo by Jimmy Jones)

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