|17 Mike Ojala
Undefeated, three-pitch pitcher who showed signs of dominating... Can become one of the best pitchers in the country if he fully recovers from off-season surgery.
Wayne Graham said -- "We like Mike, obviously one of the best pitchers in Division-I. He is coming back from Tommy John and we'll be that much better when he is cleared to play."
At Rice -- 2009: All-Conference USA (second team); Houston College Classic All-Tournament Team; C-USA Academic Honor Roll; Rice University Honor Athlete; Selected in the 34th round of the major league draft by the Milwaukeee Brewers... Twice sat out parts of the season, but displayed exemplary resolve by coming back to compete for his teammates both times... Led the team in ERA (2.17) and was second in starts (12), strikeouts (74) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (2.8-to-1)... Finished third on the staff in innings (66.1) and opponents' batting average (.249)... Averaged a team-best 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings of work... Posted wins over nationally-ranked East Carolina and San Diego, as well as C-USA foes Marshall and Houston (in the semifinal game of the league tournament)... Started the opening game of the NCAA Regional and defeated longtime rival Sam Houston State with 7.0 sterling innings for the 12th victory of his career... Pitched a career-long 7.2 frames for the win over San Diego, surrendering just one earned run... Averaged 5.1 innings for 12 starts and pitched into the seventh inning five times... Stayed undefeated in the face of unbalanced support from the offense and from the bullpen -- the offense hit .328 when other Owls started and only .280 in his starts. Furthermore, the Owl bullpen proceeded to allow an average of 4.5 runs per games more in Ojala's starts than in his non-starts... Pitched in less than 10 percent of the team's total C-USA regular season innings (211.1) but league coaches who saw him voted him high enough to earn second team all-conference... Maintained a .171 ERA and a .208 opponents' average with 22 strikeouts in 21.0 C-USA innings... Registered similar success against ranked teams, including a 2.88 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 25.0 frames... Struck out a career-high 11 batters in just 6.2 innings against nationally-ranked UCLA, but earned a no-decision... Reached double-digit strikeouts three times... Earned a save in lone appearance out of the bullpen... Fired 1.2 hitless frames with four strikeouts and no walks to save the 6-3 win over No. 1 ranked Texas... 2008: Went undefeated (5-0) and tied for third on the staff in starts (12)... Averaged a steady 10.6 strikeouts and 3.3 walks per nine innings... Second on the staff behind All-American Cole St.Clair in strikeouts-to-walks ratio (3.2-to-1, min. 35 inn.)... Starter for high-RPI games in critical situations, including Texas (three times), Texas A&M (twice), Houston, Tulane and Oklahoma State... Had the second-most innings on the staff against ranked teams (30.0), and maintained a 4.50 ERA against those elite teams... Took the mound against in-state baseball rivals Texas A&M and Texas in the NCAA Tournament where he struck out 10 in 7.1 innings... Faced the Aggies in the clinching game of the Super Regional and the Longhorns in the Regional finale... Allowed three runs on just three hits and a walk while striking out six against Texas, his first time to allow more than one earned run in a start in almost two months... Struck out a career-high 10 Tulane batters while allowing just one earned run in a career-long 6.2 innings... Also fanned nine in starts against cross-town rival Houston and Winthrop... Worked into the sixth inning in four of his last seven starts... Held opposing batters to a .239 average in his last seven starts... Stayed undefeated in the face of `unfair' offensive support from his teammates - the Owls hit .313 when other pitchers started and only .280 in his starts... 2007: Showed improvement over the course of his first full season of Division I baseball... One of the few rookie arms on the Owls' postseason travel squad... Went 2-0 with a 4.38 ERA... Pitched 12.1 innings in nine appearances, all out of the bullpen... Each of his last seven appearances (covering the months of March, April, May and June) was on the road or at a neutral site... Last home appearance at Reckling Park was on Feb. 25 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi... Last outing was at East Carolina in the finale of the Conference USA Tournament... Winning pitcher in the championship game, firing a season-long 2.2 scoreless innings at tourney host ECU with two strikeouts... Also threw an inning against Memphis in the C-USA semifinal win over Memphis to send the Owls to the championship finale... Earned both wins and maintained a 3.00 ERA in 6.0 total innings at East Carolina's Clark-LeClair Stadium... Defeated East Carolina when the Pirates were ranked 22nd in the nation... Threw matching 1.1 innings of hitless relief at C-USA foes Southern Miss and UAB... Faced 45 batters and held the opponents to a .244 average... Played in the Texas Collegiate League (Denton) in the summer of 2007.
High School -- A 2006 graduate of Kingwood High School... Two-year starter and letterman for the Mustangs under coach David Denny... Helped lead team to victory at the 2005 5A state championship... Junior year made all-state, first team all-district, and all-greater Houston... Made second team all-district during senior year... Posted career stats of 18-5 with a 2.00 ERA.
Personal -- Full Name: Michael David Ojala. Born: Aug. 24, 1987 in Houston. Parents: David and Barbara Ojala of Kingwood (three brothers and two sisters). Father played professional golf and was on the PGA Senior Tour and European Senior Tour. Sister, Jane Hilburn, was a varsity golfer at the University of Arkansas (1995-98). Major: economics. College: Martel.
Year ERA W L App GS CG SHO CBO SV IP H R ER BB SO 2B 3B HR BF Avg WP HBP
2007 4.38 2 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 12.1 11 7 6 7 9 1 1 0 56 .244 6 4
2008 4.97 5 0 14 12 0 0 0 0 54.1 61 36 30 20 64 10 3 4 251 .274 3 3
2009 2.17 5 0 13 12 0 0 0 1 66.1 61 21 16 26 74 8 2 4 283 .249 7 5
Totals 3.52 12 0 36 24 0 0 0 1 133.0 133 64 52 53 147 19 6 8 590 .259 16 12