Record Strikeouts Take Place In NCAA Baseball

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

INDIANAPOLIS — The highest amount of strikeouts over the past 49 years of NCAA Division I baseball took place during the 2018 season, according to the NCAA Division I Baseball Statistics Trends report.

Compiled by Jeff Williams, Associate Director of Media Coordination and Statistics with the NCAA, the 2018 NCAA Division I Strikeouts Per 9 Innings per game for each team was a record 7.88.

Each of the last four years have featured strikeout numbers that have gone over 7.00 which has never happened before in the past 49 years.

The strikeout average per 9 innings the last four years include:

2015: 7.02
2016: 7.17
2017: 7.54
2018: 7.88

Interestingly, the first year of the flat-seam ball was in 2015, the first year of this trend, and strikeout numbers have gone up every year since.

So there may be a correlation with the ball that is being used.

Fred Corral, pitching coach at the University of Missouri, had some interesting observations on why the strikeout numbers are at an all-time high.

Corral has 25 years of coaching experience across all levels of baseball, 12 of them in the Southeastern Conference and three in professional baseball.

“The strikeout numbers are surprising but not totally unexpected,” said Corral

“When the flat-seam ball came out, I was very excited. People told me it would go further than the raised-seam ball. I said it might, but hitting is still tough. What the flat-seam ball did was allow the break on balls to be shorter and less recognizable to hitters.

“I believe with more power arms in college baseball now, the break on pitches is not only shorter but later. Hitters are having a difficult time picking up the break of pitches with this late, shorter break.”

But there also could be other factors involved, including velocity improvement programs for pitchers that has allowed pitchers to throw harder than ever before.

To read more of this story, purchase the Oct. 5, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.