Friday, March 15, 2013

Texas Tech Pitcher Trey Masek: 32 Straight Innings Without Allowing a Run

Texas Tech pitcher Trey Masek has pitched 32 innings so far this college-baseball season without giving up a run: six innings against BYU, nine each vs. UConn and LaSalle, and eight against the University of Texas-Arlington (clicking on the opponent's name will take you to the play-by-play sheet for that game). The following graphic (which you may click to enlarge), shows threats Masek has faced (e.g., runners on second and third with two out) by game and inning.

I've incorporated into the chart an important element, namely the likelihood of a batting team scoring at least one run for a given outs/runners situation. These probabilities come from the Boyd's World college-baseball statistics website, based on huge amounts of Division I data from 2011-2012. For example, in Masek's very first inning of the season, vs. BYU, he allowed the Cougars to have runners on first and second with no outs. The average team, based on the Boyd's World statistics, would have a 71% probability of scoring at least one run in that scenario. Yet Masek got out of the jam. Masek has faced six situations thus far in which the opponents had a 47% or better chance of scoring (which includes two instances of opponents having scoring probabilities in the 70s).

The closest Masek has come to giving up a run was when a UConn batter hit a single with a runner on second in the seventh inning; the runner was thrown out at the plate.

Though Masek has seen his share of dicey situations this season, he finally seemed to get on a roll in the UT-Arlington game, “retiring the final 19 batters he faced.”

The NCAA Division I record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched within the same season is 47, by Todd Helton of the University of Tennessee in 1994. Helton, of course, went on to a long and productive major-league career as a first-basemen for the Colorado Rockies. There was one longer streak that carried over from one season to the next, with George Plender of Vermont putting 60 straight zeroes on the scoreboard in a span that encompassed the 1954 and '55 seasons.

Masek's next scheduled outing is Saturday afternoon against Texas in Austin, as Big 12 conference play begins.

UPDATE: Masek gave up a run in the first inning to the Longhorns, ending his scoreless pitching streak at 32 innings. However, he quickly resumed his old way, shutting out Texas in the remaining innings he pitched (the second through eighth innings). Hey, one run allowed in 40 innings isn't bad! 

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