Nathan Kirby, Mike Compton Lead Their Teams Into ACC Showdown

Photo - Virginia Athletics

Photo - Virginia Athletics

In what is the marque ACC matchup of the weekend, the biggest head-to-head matchup two starters who have brought success to their respective programs in two very different ways.

When Florida State and Virginia kick off their weekend series they will send to the mound two of the better pitchers in the ACC in Mike Compton and Nathan Kirby.

The junior lefty for the Cavaliers, Kirby isn’t only a closely watched player at the college level, but there will certainly be a handful of scouts in attendance to watch him pitch as he is expected to be one of the first few names called during June’s draft.

For Compton, the fanfare might not be as high but his success at one of the premier programs in the nation will certainly get him a look by some teams, especially he can out duel Kirby. A sinker-curve pitcher, Compton pounds the lower half of the strike zone to find his success.

He has used that combination to great success this season, which included a two-hit shutout against the Boston College Eagles in the Seminoles ACC Opener.

Mike Compton - Photo - FSU Athletics

Mike Compton - Photo - FSU Athletics

That isn’t to say he doesn’t have some swing-and-miss ability, as the redshirt junior is currently enjoying his best strikeout rate of his college career (9.5 K/9) after not relying on missing bats early in his career.

Even with just a lone win on the season, it was his 20th as a Seminole. Compton went 12-2 as a freshman and 7-3 a year ago. After pitching behind Luke Weaver a year ago, and Brandon Leibrandt as a freshman, Compton is the undisputed ace of this staff and his experience is setting the table for young starters Boomer Biegalski and Cobi Johnson – both of which have seen their fair share of struggles early in their careers.

For Kirby, last year was a coming out party for the then sophomore leading one of the best pitching staffs in baseball to within one game of the national championship. Along the trip, Kirby threw an 18-strikeout no-hitter against the Pitt Panthers.

Kirby brings everything that scouts love in an advanced lefty, mid-90s fastball, wipe-out curve and a changeup good enough that will allow him to stay in the rotation at the next level.

His lone blemish on the season was a 1-0 loss to the same Panthers team that he no-hit a year ago.

The two couldn’t be any more different in their approach but there is little doubting that their respective teams success will go through their arms. Just look at their combined 0.98 ERA and 10.9 K/9 on the season and you will for yourself.

About the Author

Anthony Murphy
Anthony was born in Hawaii to a military family and has lived up and down the East Coast until settling in Virginia, where he has lived the majority of his life. He developed his love for baseball watching the Pirates play with his grandfather, soaking up his stories and knowledge of the game. There wasn’t a day during any of his summer break as a kid where he and his brother didn’t have a glove in their hand, even if it was just to play catch. While he has written on several websites about various other sports, baseball is his first true love in the sporting world. Anthony will be covering the University of Virginia and the rest of the ACC for College Baseball Central, and you can follow him on Twitter: A_Murphy88.