College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2011 College Baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be providing one player per day until we reach number 1.
We continue the countdown today at number 54 with South Carolina Redshirt Sophomore Matt Price. Price hails from Sumter, SC, where at Sumter High School he was part of the 2008 AAAA All-State Team, where he had a 7-4 record and a 0.40 ERA. Even though he hasn’t started a game for the Gamecocks, Price once pitched a 17 strikeout no-hitter at the World Bat Championships in Jupiter, Florida, in 2006. In that same year, he helped lead his Sumter High School team to a South Carolina State Championship.
Matt Price played for a bit in 2009, but was granted a Medical Redshirt after fracturing his right wrist on a defensive play against the Citadel. He showed flashes of what was to come the following season when he threw 7 scoreless innings of relief against Georgia Southern on March 25th, and also in getting the win in 2.2 innings of relief against Long Beach State on March 7th.
Price came back firing in 2010, earning a First Team All-American selection by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. The Redshirt Freshman went 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 55.2 Innings Pitched, striking out 83 in the process for a 13.53 K/9 average. In his 31 relief appearances, the only loss he picked up was in the team’s eliminating loss against Auburn in the SEC Championship Tournament. Price’s abilities were shown on a national stage during the College World Series, as he picked up 3 saves in the Regional and Super Regional rounds, and was credited for the wins in both the clincher against Clemson to advanced to the finals round against UCLA, and in the Championship Game clincher against UCLA.
In Omaha, Price pitched 9.2 innings, giving up a total of 12 hits and striking out 15, while picking up those two wins. Even though that hit total is moderate, Price held hitters to a .189 Batting Average over the course of the season. Even with departures, the South Carolina pitching staff is one of the tops in the nation, with Price leading the way out of the bullpen. It will be interesting to see with their returners if he is able to crack the starting rotation.