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College  | Story  | 3/19/2023

College Reports: March 18

Colton Olinger      Brian Sakowski      Craig Cozart     
Photo: Ryan Hagenow (Kentucky Athletics)
College Reports: March 17

Players Featured: 
Levi Wells (Texas State), Matthew Adams (Southern Miss), Jack Stroud (Texas State), Ryan Hagenow (Kentucky), Dom Fritton (NC State), Jack O'Connor (Virginia)

Levi Wells, Texas State
Wells is in his second season with the Bobcats and coming off a first team All-Sun Belt sophomore season after transferring in from Texas Tech. The junior right-hander has cemented himself in the weekend rotation over the last two years with 18 starts a year ago and all four of his appearances in 2023 coming in weekend starts. His fourth start of the year was his fourth straight going five plus innings as he turned in six strong innings with 10 strikeouts, allowing two runs on seven hits with no free passes. Wells gave up an early run in the first and then allowed just one run over the next five innings as he found a groove and showed command of all four pitches. 

Wells opened the game with the fastball at 88-90 mph in the first few innings but got stronger with the fastball as he went working mostly 89-91 mph and touching 93 mph over the last four innings of work. The fastball can get downhill from his higher arm slot while hiding the ball on the back hip out of the glove with a clean arm stroke. He relied on the curveball a lot early, throwing it early in counts with big 12-6 depth in the upper 70s to keep hitters from hunting fastballs early. As the outing went on the cutter and changeup came on as the more prominent off speed pitches as he showed an ability to land each and create swing and miss. The cutter has later darting action in the mid 80s as a pitch he can comfortably throw to the glove side while the changeup is most effective to lefties with good fading depth in the low 80s. His ability to work all four pitches in the zone gives him an ability to give different looks to hitters each time he sees them while attacking both sides of the plate. 

Wells shows a ton of upside with a larger frame, showing some physicality in the build with a strong lower half. When you couple that with his four pitches for strikes you can easily continue to project him in a starting role moving forward. Even with the fastball velocity being down a bit in the cold weather he was still able to establish it and consistently use it to set up his three solid off speed pitches as well as fastball out of the zone for chases. All of this adds up to a guy who can go deep in games while limiting opposing hitters success. -Colt Olinger

Jack Stroud, Texas State
Stroud is in his first year with the Bobcats after previous stints at Florida Atlantic and Weatherford College the last two seasons. The junior left-hander seems to have settled into his bullpen role at Texas State quickly as he has eight appearances in the first five weeks of the season. He has seen time in a multitude of roles going as long as 3.2 innings in his longest out as well as picking up a few outs in some shorter outings. In Saturday’s outing Stroud was able to pick up a seven out hold while bridging the gap from the starter to the closer in a 3-2 win. 

Stroud looked comfortable from the jump on the mound as he came in firing strikes from his cross fire delivery early and picked up quick outs as he settled into the game. The fastball got up to 90 mph with angle to both sides of the plate from his easy three-quarters arm slot. While the fastball was certainly a useful weapon for the reliever, the breaking ball was just as effective as it provided a change of pace as well as later breaking action working across the zone with depth. His angle and break on the breaking ball make it especially tough on left-handed hitters as he can essentially start it behind the back and bring it in the front door forcing hitters to stay in on the front side if they are going to find hard contact. 

The fastball and breaking ball are a combo that allow him to attack both righties and lefties which is what allows him to be effective over multiple innings. While he could definitely be a left-handed specialist, he has done a nice job figuring out how to commit the fastball to both halves as well as land the breaking ball on the arm side to keep it off the barrel of right-handed hitters. This combo is what will allow Stroud to continue to be a big part of the Texas State bullpen for the rest of the season. -Colt Olinger

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