March 12, 2014
MANKATO, Minn. — One of the most remarkable records in NCAA history was set last year as RHP Jason Hoppe of Minnesota State threw 55 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
This had never been done on any level of NCAA baseball before.
Overall, Hoppe finished with an 8-1 record, 1.26 ERA and struck out 99 batters over 92 2/3 innings as a junior. Incredibly, he was not drafted last season by professional baseball despite these staggering numbers and is back for his senior year.
“During the streak, everything seemed to go my way,” said Hoppe.
“It seemed like every ground ball or fly ball that was hit to keep the streak alive, our fielders made plays. Line drives were hit right to our players. I was able to dance out of trouble and just kept pounding the strike zone. As I look back on the streak now, it was a pretty amazing accomplishment.”
Hoppe said that he not only faced a slew of great hitters in his conference but on the regional and national level as well through the playoffs.
His working velocity last year was 87-89 mph with his fastball. But he has worked hard at increasing his velocity and now throws at 90-91 mph. He topped out at 93 mph several times.
His repertoire of pitches includes a 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, 12/6 curve and a nasty changeup which he throws for strikes 85 percent of the time.
“My best pitch is the changeup,” said Hoppe.
“And it has gotten a lot of outs and strikeouts for me over the years because I can throw it on any count. My coach at Sauk Rapids Rice High School (Sauk Rapids, MN) was Jeff Hille, and he taught me the pitch when I was a sophomore. It took me 1 ½ years to really master the pitch, and it wasn’t easy. But when I saw what the pitch did as you threw it with fastball arm speed, it was one I couldn’t ignore.
“When I am throwing it properly, I can throw it right down the middle of the plate belt high as the batter gets excited at a perceived fat pitch. Then at the last second, the ball drops down and to the right and is extremely difficult to hit. Plus, the batter sees fastball arm speed and is usually thrown off by this as his timing is upset.”
Hoppe said his changeup is 78-80 mph and acts like a screwball.
He explained how he grips his changeup.
To read more about Jason Hoppe of Minnesota State, purchase the March, 7, 2014 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.