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College baseball: Oklahoma State ace Andrew Heaney's 'fan club' keeps growing

OKLAHOMA STATE — Former Putnam City High School left-hander Andrew Heaney has bounced back from a poor finish last season and emerged as one of the nation's top pitchers.
BY ANTHONY SLATER, For The Oklahoman Published: March 21, 2012
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The scouts come in droves, flocking toward the ballpark, radar gun in hand.

Packed into seats behind the plate, they casually chat between innings but intently observe during them, scribbling notes about Oklahoma State's hard-throwing lefty.

He throws on Fridays. They come on Fridays.

“It's the Andrew Heaney Fan Club,” outfielder Gabe Weidenaar joked. “They love to watch his every move.”

And with each dominant outing, that club rapidly expands.

Through five starts, Heaney has a 4-1 record, leading the Big 12 in ERA (0.92) and innings pitched (39). His 52 strikeouts are tied for most in the nation.

Two weeks ago, he had his best collegiate performance.

In a 2-0 win over Alabama A&M, Heaney threw a complete-game shutout, needing only 98 pitches for 13 strikeouts.

One week later, he nearly equaled that.

In a 14-0 win over Houston, Heaney threw another complete game, needing only 91 pitches for eight strikeouts, becoming the first Cowboy pitcher to throw back-to-back shutouts since Matt Smith in 1998.

“I just feel like his delivery is so smooth,” Weidenaar said. “Everybody knows he throws gas, but his delivery is so smooth that it comes out of his hand way harder than it seems like it would.”

But none of this should come as a complete surprise. He always had the stuff.

Lettering four years at Putnam City High School, Heaney was highly recruited. Before choosing Oklahoma State, Heaney was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 24th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

Attention comes when you're a slender lefty who sits around 93-95 miles per hour. Scouts drool when you add controlled breaking pitches to that.

Currently, mock drafts are projecting Heaney as a mid-second round pick. As of late, he's only helping that stock.

“He's got big league stuff,” OSU coach Frank Anderson said. “Similar to Andy (Oliver) or Tyler (Lyons) or any of those guys that have been here that are in the big leagues.”

But the first half of his OSU career wasn't without its bumps.

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