By Matt Schneidman
July 19, 2014
Sean Beckman (USC) isn’t going to intimidate anyone physically.
Until Saturday, the 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher hadn’t even faced Division I talent.
After pitching for La Verne College (DIII) and the USC Club Team for the past two years, Beckman made his Cotuit debut Saturday after being with the team for almost a week. Beckman threw an inning and a third, allowing one run, walking none and striking out one in Cotuit’s (14-17-1) 4-1 loss to Harwich (19-11-2) at Whitehouse Field on Saturday night.
Despite being charged with the Mariners’ eventual game-winning run, Beckman maintained command of his pitches and did what head coach Mike Roberts has often stressed a need for this season, throwing strikes.
“I thought he did a great job considering he has not pitched collegiately competitively in probably 16 or 17 months,” Roberts said. “It’s his first D1 competition. I thought he handled it really well.”
After Nick Eicholtz (Alabama) walked seven batters in 3 2/3 innings, Beckman relieved him and was able to find the zone. Although he doesn’t throw overwhelmingly fast, Beckman did throw 16 of his 24 pitches for strikes.
He featured mainly offspeed pitches, which included a slicing 12-to-6 curveball that froze Harwich hitters on multiple occasions.
“I pretty much live off my changeup and then from there, another out pitch is my curveball, so they back each other up,” Beckman said. “I’ve always just thrown strikes and that seems to get people out.”
After transferring from La Verne to USC, Beckman was required to redshirt and sit out a year.
He hadn’t faced actual collegiate competition for over a year and a half, but he didn’t surprise Roberts – someone who’s known Beckman for a long time – in his first outing with the Kettleers.
“He did exactly what I thought he would do,” Roberts said. “He’s going to throw strikes, which is one reason I brought him, so that we’d have somebody coming out of the bullpen for an inning or two that would help our current bullpen and throw strikes.”
Roberts added that Beckman will most likely face three to six hitters in the middle of games, serving as someone who can throw strikes and hold down a game until the time comes for an Adam Whitt (Nevada), Travis Duke (Texas) or Jeff Kinley (Michigan State) to come in.
And although college club opponents aren’t the same as some of the best hitters in all of college baseball, Beckman maintains a simple mentality regardless of who he faces.
“It wasn’t too big of a change you know, if you hit your spots, you’re pretty successful,” Beckman said. “Strikes are important obviously and if you can hit your spots, it makes it tough for anybody to hit it.”