The Daily Aztec

Junior college transfer brings strikeouts to SDSU

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Junior right hander Garrett Hill throws a pitch during the Aztecs 5-4 victory over Grand Canyon on Feb. 25 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Junior right hander Garrett Hill throws a pitch during the Aztecs 5-4 victory over Grand Canyon on Feb. 25 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Junior right hander Garrett Hill throws a pitch during the Aztecs 5-4 victory over Grand Canyon on Feb. 25 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

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San Diego State baseball pitcher Garrett Hill is a new player on the Mesa, but he is a familiar face on the baseball diamond.

The junior transfer from Santa Rosa Junior College brings a 2.83 ERA from his sophomore season to the D1 level, and the young right hander has a penchant for strikeouts, with 84 in 92 innings pitched last year.

Hill has adjusted quickly to life in an Aztecs uniform, and through two starts has thrown 15 strikeouts in only nine innings pitched.

“I love striking guys out,” Hill said, after striking out nine batters in SDSU’s 5-4 victory against Grand Canyon on Feb. 25. “It just makes me feel like I’m better than you.”

Hill’s assertion that he is “better than you,” is hard to dispute out on the field, where he was named the Big 8 Co-pitcher of the year last season.

“He’s one of those guys that’s hard to see, he has kind of an invisible fastball that just gets on you,” head coach Mark Martinez said. “It’s a quick arm, it’s deceptive, he’s got downhill tilt to it and so he’s going to pile up a lot of strikeouts.”

Unlike freshmen coming into the program, Hill has the experience of facing off against college level competition, something which he said gives him an advantage among newcomers.

“I think being a transfer it’s just another level of experience compared to these freshmen who have just come up from high school,” Hill said. “It’s just a slight advantage of facing some of these guys before, and it just makes me know that I’m able to do the best I can (to) get guys out.”

Hill got his first win wearing the Scarlet and Black after his very first start, against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 18, throwing five innings of three-hit ball without giving up an earned run while striking out six in a 7-5 victory.

“Amazing pitcher,” senior outfielder Chase Calabuig said after the win. “That dude’s probably one of the best, if not the best Sunday pitcher in anybody’s staff.”

Martinez described the pitcher who takes the mound on Sunday as someone who you can count on to stifle losing streaks, and give the team a fresh start going into a new week of games.

“I think he’s a guy that can pitch on Sundays and finish the weekend,” Martinez said. “He’s that guy that can be that stopgap.”

Hill has been using a two-pitch arsenal out on the mound, opting to go with a slider and a fastball.

Martinez said that the team would like to see him add a third pitch to his repertoire, which would help him with his pitch count and overall effectiveness.

“His next step for him is to be a three-pitch mix instead of a two-pitch mix,” Martinez said. “Hopefully we can add another pitch to his arsenal, and I think that’ll help him extend into games too.”

Junior outfielder Chad Bible had high praise for his new teammate, and described Hill as a hard worker with a positive attitude.

“(Hill) always has a smile on his face and he honestly works harder, if not the hardest on the team,” Bible said. “He’s a grinder and he goes about his business the right way. He’s going to be huge for us this year.”

Hill said that all the support from his teammates allows him to simply focus on playing the game the best that he can.

“Its awesome,” he said. “It means to me that I can just go out there and do what I love to do, and hopefully work long enough to get my team the win.”

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