It’s a new crew on the mound for the Arkansas this year and they’ve been getting work done.
But how does that affect the man behind home plate that catches all those pitches? He’s been the man behind the mask for three years, and last season, Jake Wise worked with a pitching staff that had the best ERA in program history. But, Arkansas lost nine of those pitchers to the draft. So this year has been a big change, but a successful one.
“It’s been going good,” Wise said. “I think as you can see year go on, you can see the pitchers get better and more comfortable on the mound.”
Comfortable may be an understatement. The hogs have seven shutouts this season. Entering the season, many had their doubts after losing so many big arms, but Wise was not one of them.
“I expected the same thing. You know when you come here, we’ve always had a good pitching staff, and a great pitching coach with coach Jorn. He’s done a great job with a lot of the younger guys and able to get them ready for the season.”
Wise is an asset himself on the field for these young pitchers.
“It’s huge,” Dave Van Horn, head coach said. “He’s like having a coach on the field. He can call the game. He looks over for help and suggestions. We give him picks.”
The senior catcher said he enjoys this team, especially getting to work with the young pitching staff.
“You’re able to mold them, and watch them gain experience and get better throughout the season,” Wise said.
But it’s his experience that has helped out on the mound.
“He’s been through it, been through the league,” Van Horn said. “He knows these pitchers. I guess it’s very comforting I guess is the word I’d say. He may have the feel for it but they still have to deliver.”