Owls Need That Taylor Wall

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A breakdown of the performance by Owls So. LHP Taylor Wall in a second. But first: How about the relief effort delivered by Fr. LHP Holt McNair and So. RHP Matthew Reckling? As badly as the Owls need Wall to return to pre-final-exams form, they need their bullpen to reveal quality depth. McNair (two scoreless innings) had been erratic of late, sandwiching two poor outings against TSU (1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K) and Southern Miss (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER) around a three-inning stint at Oklahoma State where he surrendered no runs on two hits and two walks. Reckling hadn't pitched since May 4 against Texas State yet threw strikes, fielded his position beautifully, and worked a scoreless ninth including a game-ending strikeout.

As for Wall, it wasn't pretty but it was effective. He surrendered two solo home runs, worked his way in and out of trouble in the second, third and fifth, and retired the Pirates in order only once. But when he needed big strikeouts he got them, and despite The OG's desire for Wall to work the inside of the plate, Wall did just enough to prove he is a viable postseason pitcher.

"It was a step forward, so next week or whenever we'll build on that," Wall (6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) said. "I'm just working on staying on my back leg, not opening up too fast and leaving the ball up. Just really staying on my back leg and driving the ball down in the zone."

The mechanical issues are nothing new for Wall. Earlier in the season he scuffled with runners on base due to similar problems, and it took tedious work on his part and that of the coaching staff to get those kinks ironed out. Wall began to lose his mechanics in a start at Marshall on May 7, allowing season highs in hits (11) and walks (four) while fighting his way to a victory. His struggles were more pronounced against Southern Miss, UH and UAB, so Wall desperately needed to show the coaching staff something against East Carolina Wednesday.

Wall has work remaining. Additional reps in the bullpen should help him keep his front shoulder closed and stay on his back leg, which in turn should allow Wall superior command. If Wall can regain control of the inside of the plate, his slider and change are more effective.

Wall took a step in the right direction against the Pirates. He'll could be better next weekend.

"We got to throw off of his fastball today," Owls Sr. C Diego Seastrunk said. "It's not his best velocity, but he had a good fastball today. We were able to work off of that, and his slider was biting hard. I saw some good stuff out of him, and we're going to need him the rest of the way."

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Great start to postseason play. Thanks for the updates, as I was away from the computer for most of the game.

I thought our pitchers performed up to their expectations we expected all season long. Wall proved to himself he could pitch himself out of jams he got himself in. The skipper had confidence in him and I think that has to be a big factor not only for Taylor, but for the whole team. I thought they played like champions and will go a long way.

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