jump to example.com
newsletter linked in

Not on Nathan Kirby: UVA lefty just didn’t have it

college world seriesWhat UVA ace Nathan Kirby endured Monday night in Game 1 of the 2014 College World Series was Rick Ankiel-like, Steve Blass-like.

It was that bad. So bad that you hope the kid has a short memory, that whatever summer league team he pitches for, probably up in the Cape, he goes out and tears it up, strikes out 20, throws a no-hitter, something like that.

Otherwise … well, forget otherwise.

Even when Kirby was rolling Monday night, retiring the first seven Vanderbilt hitters that he faced, the appearances were deceiving. He had gone to two 3-0 counts on hitters in the second, and had another 2-0 count in the first, and had been bailed out by aggressive swings on pitches by Commodore hitters who had the count in their favor. Through two, he had thrown 26 pitches, 15 of them strikes, not bad, given the results, but he wasn’t exactly sharp, either.

Kirby struck out Chris Harvey on three pitches to begin the third, and then it began. He walked #8 hitter Jason Delay on four pitches, then fell behind nine-hole hitter Tyler Campbell 2-0. Campbell drove the 2-0 fastball to the wall in left for a double, and at that moment, Kirby lost confidence in his stuff.

Pitching coach Karl Kuhn preaches pitching to contact, but Kirby clearly was pitching to anything but contact after the Campbell double. Head coach Brian O’Connor would later point to mechanical issues in Kirby’s delivery as the primary cause of what was to happen next – four more walks, five total in the inning, three with the bases loaded, opening the door to an improbable nine-run Vanderbilt third.

But the mechanical was rooted in the psychological, on the part of Kirby and his coaches. Only eight of his next 26 pitches were strikes. It was excruciating to watch; it wasn’t like he was just missing, he was missing badly. It was so bad that the four-pitch walk to Zander Wiel, the second walk in the sequence of three back-to-back-to-back walks with the bases loaded, should have been the night for Kirby, and would have been on any other night, with any other pitcher on the mound, but it had all happened so quickly that O’Connor and Kuhn hadn’t had time to get Whit Mayberry loose in the bullpen.

You could almost sense them expecting Kirby to battle out of it and settle down to give them more innings.

Mayberry and Austin Young did eventually settle things down, keeping Vanderbilt off the board the rest of the way, giving the offense time to turn a 9-2 deficit into something more interesting.

You can’t help but feel that had O’Connor been able to pull the trigger on lifting Kirby, Game 1 was Virginia’s to lose, even with having to go to the pen much earlier than expected. UVA had 15 hits in the game, got clutch hits all night, scoring seven runs with two outs, and its pitchers put up eight zeroes on the scoreboard.

It would have bruised Kirby’s ego to get the hook after walking a couple of guys and leaving down 3-2. Now you have to hope that he didn’t bruise something else upstairs, that he comes back next year and is his usual dominant self.

Forget otherwise.

– Column by Chris Graham

 
Top Stories
a

Boring ol' Tim Kaine

My first brush of politics with Tim Kaine involved turkeys, and breakfast at a Bob Evans.

Tim Kaine for VP: Responses from across the spectrum

The responses are coming in from across the political spectrum on the selection of Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton's running mate.

Hillary Clinton taps Tim Kaine as running mate

Presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has tapped U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., as her running mate in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Virginia State Police investigating fatal accident in Augusta County

At 7:40 p.m., Friday (July 22, 2016), Virginia State Police responded to a vehicle crash that occurred on Interstate 81 at the 207 mile marker.

Virginia unemployment rate drops to 3.7 percent

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in June.

McAuliffe announces 10.5 percent decrease in homelessness in Virginia

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that overall homelessness in the Commonwealth declined 10.5 percent in 2016 versus 2015.

Churchville Fire and Rescue to receive $2 million from USDA for renovation

The USDA Virginia Rural Development office will finance a $2 million low-interest direct loan for Churchville Volunteer Fire and Rescue in Augusta County.

Learning the ropes at Fishburne Military School

Fishburne Military School cadets will be taking their new-found skills to new heights on Wednesday when they ascend FMS' 40-foot rappel tower for the first time.

Ms. Angie’s Fund: Salvation Army to honor long-time case worker

Angie Engleman – Ms. Angie to so many in Waynesboro and Augusta County – is retiring, sorta, kinda, from The Salvation Army after 33 years.

WVPT to launch Viewpoints: Features AFP’s Chris and Crystal Graham

WVPT will premiere a new weekly TV news show, Viewpoints, with co-hosts Chris Graham and Crystal Graham, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

 
Discussion
 
Recent News

AFP Business

Your One-Stop Media Shop

Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including web design, magazine/brochure, TV/radio, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation.
 

Advertise

Get information on readership and advertising online with us.
.

AFP Classes

Augusta Free Press offers a series of hour-long classes on website design, marketing strategy, social media, event planning and more.
.

Web Design

You want a new website, but don’t have the first clue as to how to build one. That’s our job. Get your business online for as little as $1,299.
.

Graphic Design

Whether you need a fresh business card design, rack card, ad, flyer or full magazine design, we can help with all your graphic-design needs.
.

Marketing/PR

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.
.

Search Engine Optimization

The prettiest website in the world is like a tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it. If your website hasn’t been search engine optimized, no one is going to see it or hear it – and it’s not going to work for you.


Video/Audio

Web videos, TV and radio commercials, DVDs – Augusta Free Press LLC has you covered when it comes to video and audio production.
.