By the time Jake Thompson left the mound after Saturday’s win over Arizona State, the Oregon State University pitcher and Siuslaw High School graduate had left 10 batters swinging at the air.
It was a career record for Thompson, whose performance drew the attention and accolades of the Pac-12 by being named a Player of the Week.
The red-shirt junior struck out six in the first three innings on the way to winning his fifth game of the season, which is a career record for Thompson. It also ties him for the Pac-12 and national lead so far this season.
It was the 82nd all-time weekly honor for the Beavers, and Thompson’s first. At Siuslaw, Thompson’s pitching abilities earned him first-team all-state honors in both his junior and senior seasons, drawing the attention of the Chicago Cubs in the 34th round during the MLB draft.
At the time, Thompson opted not to sign and, instead, went on to play summer baseball with the Bend Elks in 2014, where he went 4-2 in nine starts with a 2.45 ERA and 34 strikeouts.
During his sophomore year at OSU, a back strain held him to less than seven innings of play but he came back to red shirt that fall.
He struggled last season with a team-high 28 walks in 61 innings, but has come into this season with his strongest opening performance so far with a 1.32 ERA in his first 13 innings, allowing only 5 hits and striking out 15.
After Saturday’s performance to pick up his fifth-straight win, he is quickly becoming a key player in cracking the three-man weekend rotation in Pac-12 play.
“The learning curve is different for every player,” said OSU pitching coach Nate Yeskie. “I think Jake is starting to realize what he’s capable of — and he’s having fun doing it. He’s become more comfortable with who he is and what he can do.”
Currently, the Beavers are ranked No. 1 by multiple national polls after sweeping the Pac-12 weekly awards last week with player (Cadyn Grenierwon, infielder) and pitcher of the week (Thompson).
OSU swept Arizona State in Tempe to win its first Pac-12 series.