Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF pitcher Herget emerges as ace

TAMPA — He is young, he is skinny, and he is dominating.

As the USF baseball team chases its first NCAA regional appearance since 2002, much of its optimism starts with freshman pitcher Jimmy Herget, who has fearlessly embraced his role as No. 1 starter.

"It's a little nerve-racking that they're going to rely on a freshman," the 6-foot-3, 165-pound right-hander from Jefferson High says. "So far I've done a really good job of not letting it get to me at all, of just going out there and having no emotion, just going out there and doing it."

Herget, 19, is 5-2 and leads Big East pitchers with a 1.66 earned-run average, and he'll have the mound in his hometown Thursday as the Bulls (33-19, 15-6 Big East) finish the regular season with a three-game series against Rutgers.

USF was in first place in the conference for much of this season, but it will be seeded between second and fifth for next week's Big East tournament in Clearwater.

"The best thing about Jimmy is he competes," said first-year Bulls pitching coach Lance Carter, a former Rays closer. "He really believes he's going to be successful, and that's translated to the success he's had.

"I don't think anything really stirs him up or makes him get nervous. The kid's been tremendous for us, and he's going to have to continue to be tremendous for us to have a chance at making a big run."

Herget was initially penciled in as the closer this season, but as Carter points out, "You've got to be able to get to the end of the game to close games out." Opponents are hitting .184 against him overall and .169 in Big East play, where he has helped the Bulls to a 15-6 conference record.

Coach Lelo Prado says he needs more Hergets — more top local recruits who choose the Bulls over not only other schools but the lure of pro contracts. USF risked losing Herget to the pros, an option he considered strongly between the end of his senior season and the draft in June.

"It was a big possibility," he said. "It was a real good possibility the second day of the draft. (Atlanta) called me up around the 13th round, and I told them I wasn't ready. 'I'm going to go to college. Hopefully, I'll see you in three years.' "

The Braves took a flier on Herget anyway, drafting him in the 40th and final round, hoping to make an offer that would change his mind. His answer didn't change, much to Prado's delight.

"To throw him in there on Fridays (as No. 1) and have him do what he's done is unbelievable," said Prado, who likens Herget to former Bulls ace Randy Fontanez, now a Mets prospect.

"Guys that turn down money out of high school are what turn your program around. Eventually we want to get to a point where every kid we get has a chance of being drafted and turns it down to get an education."

Herget said part of his decision was a desire to stay in his hometown, to pitch where his friends and family could watch him. He took a trip to Florida State, but that only reinforced his decision.

"I knew that this was the place," he said.

USF stumbled last weekend, getting swept at Seton Hall, but the Bulls can help their case for an NCAA tournament at-large bid with a strong showing against Rutgers. The easiest route to the NCAAs is to win the Big East tournament and the automatic berth that comes with it.

Prado is excited about Herget's future. Herget has agreed to not pitch this summer and instead spend the next few months in the weight room, adding muscle to make him that much better as a sophomore.

"Once that kid gains 10, 15 pounds, look out," Prado said. "He's going to get bigger and stronger, and the experience he's getting right now, there's not many freshmen around the country that pitch on Friday nights.

"We're not close to being done. We've got to finish the job."

Up next for USF

vs. Rutgers, 7 p.m. Thursday, USF Baseball Stadium. Jimmy Herget is expected to start the opener of a three-game series that closes the regular season.

USF pitcher Herget emerges as ace 05/14/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans previews 2017-18 NBA season, predicts Warriors will be dethroned

    Bucs

    Tampa isn't the greatest basketball market. In fact, it's just about the worst.

    Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate after connecting for a touchdown against the Bears in September. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  4. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]