As starters get stretched out, and build their pitch counts up, instead of using three or four relievers, teams would preferably like to use the first guy out of the bullpen for a few innings and save the rest of the bullpen for the rest of the weekend.
Friday night saw no shortage of this in the ACC, as several teams relied on their second pitcher to come in and throw multiple innings. Some pitchers found incredible success in doing so, with some earning the win for their team and others getting the save.
Freshman Alex Schnell has already found himself a go-to guy for the Clemson Tigers, pitching in his fourth game already this season. In each outing, Schnell has pitched in multiple innings every time but against South Carolina he went a career high four innings.
Allowing only two hits and a walk, Schnell picked up his first career save in the Tigers’ big win over the Gamecocks.
Alec Bettinger pitched mainly as the UVAs mid-week starter last season but found himself pitching in relief of staff ace Nathan Kirby. Bettinger closed out the game, earning a save himself, and pitched three innings while striking out five batters in that span.
With Josh Sborz moving to the bullpen as the closer, the Cavaliers had an open spot in the rotation – with Bettinger a candidate to fill it but instead has pitched more out of the bullpen that he has as a starter this year.
In a losing effort, N.C. State’s Curt Britt pitching four no-hit innings while striking out four batters. The Wolfpack lost the game 1-0 with the lost being charged to starter Cory Wilder. N.C. State was only able to muster up four hits themselves.
Florida State’s Alec Byrd came in and pitched 4 1/3 innings while only allowing one hit and struck out eight batters. The sophomore retired the first 12 batters he faced before allowing the lone hit. He kept the game tied until the Seminoles were able to break through and take the lead on a D.J. Stewart solo-shot in the seventh.
Sophomore lefty Scott Tully got the win for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, coming in relief for starter Scott Kerrigan. Pitching three perfect innings, Tully walked four but also struck out six while holding the game at a 2-2 tie until Notre Dame was able to break through with two runs in each the seventh and eighth.
Teams that is able to save their bullpen for later in the series gives themselves a better chance at staying in a game if things start to go south for them. If any of these teams are able to claw back from an ugly game this weekend, you can thank these relievers for going deep in their outing.