Healthy Radke ready to rise

College : : Story
Kendall Rogers        
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ALSO SEE: PG College Top 25 | Weekly national column

LOS ANGELES — Portland junior left-handed pitcher Travis Radke is one of the nation’s elite pitchers many probably have never heard about.

To those of us who cover college baseball on a consistent basis, Radke has been a household name in a sense. Coaches in the Pacific Northwest have raved about “this lefty from Portland” for the past couple of seasons. But while Radke racked up solid numbers as both a freshman and sophomore, he hasn’t garnered a bulk of the headlines in the region. After all, that’s a tough chore to accomplish with Oregon State and Oregon nearby, and obviously having a bit more star power on the national level.

Hoping to introduce the rest of the nation to his elite abilities, Radke had a real chance to make a statement over the weekend as he got the opening day starting nod for the Pilots as they hit the road to face the defending national champions — the UCLA Bruins.

Besides facing the defending champs to open the season, Radke had some extra motivation returning to his home area, where he’s originally from Thousand Oaks, Calif. While those two situations would cause some pitchers to be nervous and perhaps overwhelmed, Radke showed impressive composure as he pitched a gem on the way to a shocking 1-0 victory over the Bruins.

“I thought he pitched very well. We would’ve liked to get him another inning, but he was starting to tighten up a bit. He made some really good pitches tonight, and he was able to throw that changeup for a strike,” Portland coach Chris Sperry said. “I think you saw a pretty typical performance from Travis. I’m not sure how many strikeouts he had, but that was very typical. He threw strikes, controlled the running game and if you saw him next week, you’d probably see a pretty similar performance.”

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