Pooser Excelling as Friday Night Starter

Pooser Excelling as Friday Night Starter

by Tim Letcher

Through the first few weeks of the 2024 baseball season, the starting pitchers for the Kentucky baseball team were doing almost everything right. The only exception was that the Cats were still looking for more out of their Friday starter.

In the series opener against No. 12 Alabama, Trey Pooser got the call for the third consecutive series-opening start. And for the third straight week, he delivered.

The graduate student from Hanahan, South Carolina, pitched seven innings on Friday, holding Alabama to two runs on six hits. Pooser walked only one and struck out three as Kentucky picked up a 6-2 win and Pooser pushed his record to 3-0 on the season. UK head coach Nick Mingione loved how Pooser held the Crimson Tide at bay.

“Trey Pooser, what a start,” Mingione said. “I thought he minimized. They got their couple of runs but, boy, did he minimize.”

Mingione likes how Pooser has embraced any role that the UK staff has asked of him.

“He’s had the experience of doing that. He was College of Charleston’s Friday night starter. I’m really happy for him because he was willing to do whatever role,” Mingione said. “Trey just stepped right in and never skipped a beat. He’s gone on the attack and trusted himself and believed in his stuff and it’s worked out for him.”

The 2024 campaign didn’t start smoothly for Pooser, who transferred to UK after four years at the College of Charleston. In his first outing of the season, Pooser gave up five earned runs in 4.2 innings against USC Upstate. In his next outing, Pooser allowed two earned runs in 2.1 innings against Washington State.

Since then, the right-hander has been outstanding. In four relief appearances, he allowed no runs in 6.1 innings. When asked the difference between starting and coming out of the bullpen, Pooser knows the difference.

“Just the mindset,” Pooser said. “As a reliever, you’re going one pitch at a time as long as you can. As a starter, you’ve got to go as long as you can as hard as you can.”

On March 22, Pooser was moved into the Friday starting spot against Missouri, and he responded in a big way. Pooser allowed just one run on three hits in six innings as the Cats beat Missouri. Last week at Ole Miss, Pooser gave up just two earned runs in 5.2 innings in another UK win.

In his three Southeastern Conference starts, Pooser, has pitched 18.2 innings, allowed just 15 hits and five earned runs while walking only four and striking out 15. Outfielder Nolan McCarthy, who hit a two-run home run on Friday night, believes that Pooser has been huge for the Cats.

“He’s amazing, coming in out of the bullpen at the start of the year, now transitioning to the Friday night guy,” McCarthy said. “It’s not easy and he’s done an amazing job. He has four pitches and he competes with all of them.”

Pooser believes that his success has come because of simple things.

“Just being able to locate, fill up the zone, throw strikes,” Pooser said.

Pooser has taken on the task of being the Friday night starter in the SEC and run with it. And in the process, the Cats have reaped the benefit of having him in the weekend rotation.

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