Wednesday Mar 11 2009
OSU lands Golden Sierra gem
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
Waldron transfers after 1 year at Pacifc, assumes major role with Beavers
The last time Tyler Waldron pitched for the University of the Pacific baseball team, it was against Oregon State . A year later, Waldron is wearing an Oregon State uniform. “It was a coincidence, more than anything,” the Golden Sierra High graduate said. “Looking back, it shows how fate played into this. I was meant to play at Oregon State .” Waldron showed flashes of the brilliance the Beavers (7-3) hope to see from him this season in that final outing for Pacific. In seven-plus innings, the right-hander struck out five batters while allowing just two runs and five hits. Waldron didn’t get into the details of why he left Pacific, saying simply, “I decided it wasn’t the best place for me.” The Tigers only won 11 games during his time there, during which the right-hander went 3-7 with 63 strikeouts and a 5.20 ERA in a team-high 91 2/3 innings. Oregon State , by contrast, has won two of the last three College World Series, claiming back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007 before missing the postseason last year. Waldron is now part of a sophomore class he believes can help OSU cement its status as a national powerhouse. “We’re looking to win championships this year, next year and the year after that,” Waldron said. “We’ve got a really strong, phenomenal pitching staff,” he said. “We’ve got a great offense that can score runs and give me a lot of run support. I’d put our defense up against any in the Pac-10, that’s for sure.” For his part, Waldron is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts this season. As he was at Pacific, he’s the Beavers’ leader in innings pitched (16) this season. “He can navigate his way through a game,” OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie said of what makes Waldron such an effective workhorse. “Whether he’s got his best stuff or not, he can find a way to keep his team in the game.” “No matter who I’m pitching against, my teammates have confidence in me,” Waldron said. “Even if we’re not scoring that many runs, I allow my team to always have an opportunity to win the game. That’s your overall goal as a pitcher — to keep your team in the game. Waldron is also Oregon State ‘s current leader in strikeouts (14). He has given up 19 hits, 13 runs (12 earned) and eight walks. “He does a lot of things pretty good,” Yeskie said. “He can hold runners (on base). He can field his position. He’s a strike thrower — a lot of our hitters have come back to the dugout (during practice) saying they felt like he had good stuff, that he was getting guys out and making them take bad swings. As a pitcher, that’s what you’re trying to do — disrupt a hitter’s timing.” Waldron was already on Major League Baseball teams’ radar before he went to college — the Florida Marlins drafted him in the 32nd round in 2007. Last summer, he got even more exposure to major league scouts when he pitched for the Yarmouth-Dennis (Mass.) Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League, a high-profile collegiate wooden-bat league. “If you’re a collegiate baseball player who’s really serious about the game, that’s where you want to find yourself playing at during the summer,” Waldron said. In eight appearances with the Red Sox, Waldron was 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched. Waldron can’t re-enter the major league draft until after next season. However, if he continues to make a name for himself at the college level, he could get drafted much higher than the 32nd round — and earn a fat signing bonus to boot. “If I keep doing what I’m doing, I have a chance to go in the top five rounds,” he said.