Big 12 baseball: Conference's best pitchers share their 'out pitch'

Most successful pitchers have a pitch they lean on when needed. It’s often referred to as the “out pitch,” and with it comes stories, nicknames, and sometimes a unique grip or throwing motion.
by Trent Shadid Published: May 23, 2014
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Every pitcher has certain stuff he’s most comfortable throwing in a tight spot.

For some, it may depend on whether they’re facing a right or left-handed hitter, but all of the most successful arms have something nasty they lean on when needed.

It’s often referred to as the “out pitch,” and with it comes stories, nicknames, and sometimes a unique grip or throwing motion.

The Oklahoman asked three of the top pitchers in the Big 12 about their out pitch.

Here are their stories:

Brandon Finnegan, TCU

Out pitch: Slider

Stuck in second and third inning jams against Texas during an April game, TCU’s Brandon Finnegan leaned on his slider.

“Twice in the first few innings we had a couple errors and Texas got a couple guys on base,” Finnegan said. “I ended up striking out three over those two innings to get me out of it, all on sliders.”

Finnegan went on to toss an eight-inning gem against the Longhorns — striking out 11, surrendering no runs, and giving up just four hits in a 3-0 victory.

“That day at Texas every pitch was working and that made my slider that much more effective,” said Finnegan, who is projected as the No. 11 overall prospect in this year’s Major League Baseball draft by MLB.com. “It was one of those days where I knew after the first couple innings that all we needed was a run and the game was sealed.”

The junior has used the slider along with an effective fastball and changeup to compile a Big 12-leading 103 strikeouts.

“It comes out of my hand just like me fastball does,” said Finnegan, who has an 8-3 record this season. “That’s what makes it so hard for everyone to hit. They can’t tell what kind of pitch it is because it comes out looking like a fastball and just drops out of the zone.”

Nathan Thornhill, Texas

Out pitches: “Bugs Bunny” changeup vs. lefties and cut fastball vs. righties

Nathan Thornhill’s career as a high school quarterback has helped him develop a devastating changeup.

“When I follow through on a changeup, it’s the same as throwing a football,” Thornhill said. “I think that’s kind of what helped me get the control and the feel for it.”

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by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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