BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana sophomore right-hander Thomas Belcher (2-0) has ascended to the top of the Big Ten ranks, the Jacksonville, Fla., natives 0.73 ERA is tops in the B1G. In an interview with College Baseball Central Monday, Belcher said he performs better the more pressure there is.
“I feed off the pressure,” Belcher said. “I like being the guy that makes the pitch that decides what happens in the game. I have always been more comfortable at the back end of games. I am going to use strategy to a point, but I will look at your scouting report. I developed a strikeout pitch over the off-season and I am locating my off-speed stuff, my approach is like; here it is, you’re going to have to beat me.”
Belcher is sort of an anomaly, as the 6-feet-4 inch 212 pound hurler has kept hitters in the B1G off balance with his submarine/over-the-top dual throwing slot attack. He has seen great results, registering 26 strikeouts and zero walks in 24.2 innings pitched.
“I red-shirted my freshman year,” Belcher points out. “I took that time to develop my submarine style and over-the-top delivery. I just try to keep the ball in the strike zone as much as possible.”
As a redshirt freshman in 2014 Belcher appeared in 15 games. In 33 IP’s he put together an ERA of 1.91 which was third best on the team, while registering four saves which was second on the squad.
This year Belcher has held opposing batters to a .210 average which is sixth in the Big Ten. Along with that he has only allowed 17 hits (2nd B1G) and just two runs (1st B1G). The talented MLB body projection is also No. 1 in the Big Ten in walks allowed (0).
“You are going to have to be on your game in the Big Ten,” Belcher added. “The Big Ten has gotten a lot better than previous years. Maryland, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, they are all elite teams. It’s going to be especially fun come tournament time as well.”
Belcher allowed his second earned run of the year in the fifth inning of IU’s doubleheader against Penn State in game one on March 22. That was the first run Belcher had given up since Feb. 22. He tossed 2.1 innings in that game, allowing just one run and three hits.
Back on March 6, Belcher registered a career-high six strikeouts and logged his second win of the season when Indiana beat Villanova 4-3 at North Charlotte Regional Park (Port Charlotte, Fla.).
A crafty young pitcher, Belcher is to be respected when on the bump. He has taken the initiative and welcomes challenge. Look for Belcher to continue padding stats and helping his team win in the tough situations, a characteristic synonymous with championship caliber players.
Indiana faces a surging Kentucky ball team fresh off their series victory over No. 1 LSU on Tuesday, in Lexington, Kentucky at Cliff Hagan Stadium 4:00 p.m. ET.