LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Nothing in sports evokes emotion like speed. Whether it's a thoroughbred whisking by at Churchill Downs, a stock car flying by at the Kentucky Speedway, a sprinter reaching for the finish line, or a pitcher delivering a blazing fast ball.
"From an offensive standpoint everybody loves the home run and from a pitching standpoint people love to see velocity," said University of Louisville pitching coach Roger Williams.
Cards sophomore pitcher Nick Burdi is throwing with velocity never before seen at U of L. The Downers Grove, Illinois, native is hitting 100 miles per hour on the radar gun.
"It was this past summer up at the Cape Cod League for my summer team," Burdi said. "It happened during one game and then after that it started coming together and I felt like every outing, I was throwing upper 90s, and then just hitting 100 here and there."
Williams has seen plenty of pitching talent, but this is even a first for him, saying, "This is my 22nd year in coaching, I've had some hard throwers, but I've never seen 100 before until now"
Against Akron on February 24, Burdi hit 100 three different times in one inning. "It was awesome," he said. "It was something that every kid dreams about and to get to this point and be able to say that you've thrown 100 miles per hour is something only a handful guys can do. It's something I've worked for my whole life and it's a big accomplishment for me."
His teammates have faced that blazing fastball, and are happy to be outside the batters box when Burdi is on the mound. "It's a treat to have him on our side, that's for sure, he's the hardest throwing kid in baseball for crying out loud," Cards second baseman Nick Ratajczak said.
The 6'4" right-hander compliments his heater with a slider and is also working on his change up. Batters struggle to adjust to pitches that can vary by 10-15 miles an hour.
A desire to hone his craft is what led Burdi to U of L. He was selected in the 24th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Minnesota Twins, but elected for college.
"He's a smart kid and he wants to get a college degree," Cards head coach Dan McDonnell said, "but he wanted to really learn how to pitch, great arm, great work ethic"
Burdi has at least one more year at U of L, and at least one more under the tutelage of Williams, who has also helped him develop the mentality of a closer.
"Cause that's really your job, when you're the closer, and the type of closer he is, you want to come in and overpower people." according to Williams.
Burdi will also continues to work in the weight room, who knows he might even add some velocity, "Every once in awhile I'll get up to 101, 102. It's something that you kind of hope for every time you go out there so that you can show people what you've been blessed with," he said.
The Cards have home games March 8-10 against Alabama. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
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