State of the Ace: Arnold, Burns Pile Up Strikeouts

Florida State’s Jamie Arnold struck out 17 while Wake Forest’s Chase Burns racked up 16 on Friday night.

jamie arnold

Welcome to State of the Ace, a Saturday morning look at the best performances by Friday starters throughout the country.

Two of the top three outings last night came in the ACC as Florida State’s Jamie Arnold and Wake Forest’s Chase Burns were remarkable in their respective games against Pittsburgh and No. 2 Clemson, respectively.

Arnold led the way with a career-high 17 strikeouts, the most for a FSU pitcher since 1987, but was undone by a sixth inning solo home run as the Seminoles failed to provide their ace any run support. Pittsburgh’s Ryan Andrade, featured below, kept FSU at bay and spoiled Arnold’s career night.

The sophomore lefthander didn’t issue a walk against the Panthers and Luke Cantwell’s two-out home run was his lone mistake. Cantwell also broke up his early perfect game bid in the fourth inning with a single — Arnold had retired the first 10 batters with nine strikeouts.

He didn’t allow another hit until the sixth inning, when Cantwell put Pittsburgh up for good. He responded with two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh inning, finishing day with 17 on 98 pitches. While the defeat was painful, FSU will feel good seeing Arnold back at full strength after NC State got to him for six runs in three innings the week prior.

Burns, meanwhile, broke the program’s single-season strikeout record — which had been set by Rhett Lowder the previous year. Burns’ 16 strikeouts brought him to 156 on the year, a full 13 above the record.

Unlike Arnold, Burns came away with a victory. The No. 12 Demon Deacons took down the second-ranked Tigers, 4-2, with Burns going seven innings of one-run ball to outduel Ethan Darden. The righthander saw an early 1-0 lead disappear when Jacob Hinderleider hit a leadoff solo home run in the fourth, but he struck out the next three batters and returned with a three-run lead.

He leads the ACC in Average Game Score at 68.1 and is 10-1 with 156 strikeouts to just 24 walks across 82 innings for a 2.85 ERA.

Let’s look at some of the other top pitching performances from Friday:

ryan gallagher
UC Santa Barbara’s Ryan Gallagher. UCSB Photo

Ryan Gallagher, UC Santa Barbara
vs. CSU Bakersfield — W, 8 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 13 K

In a much-anticipated matchup with CSU Bakersfield’s Ryan Verdugo, Gallagher dominated over eight shutout innings in an 8-3 Gauchos’ win. The two top starters in the Big West by Avg. Game Score, Gallagher cruised to the tune of 13 strikeouts and moved to 7-1 with a 2.34 ERA across 11 starts.

Bryson Van Sickle, Utah
vs. Arizona — W, 9 IP, 3 H, R, 2 BB, 8 K

In mid-April, Van Sickle led the State of the Ace report after an 82-pitch shutout of Arizona State. There must be something about the state of Arizona as he held the No. 17 Wildcats to one run on three hits over nine innings of a 6-1 upset win for the Utes. Van Sickle struck out eight and needed 108 pitches.

Ryan Andrade, Pittsburgh
vs. Florida State — W, 7 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 8 K

Andrade outdueled Arnold on Friday night, matching him in start length (seven innings) and keeping the Seminoles off the board. He picked up a well-deserved win after scattering three hits and three walks before teammate Phil Fox worked a two-inning save.

Merritt Beeker, Ball State
vs. Central Michigan — W, 7 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 13 K

The Cardinals’ push for a playoff spot in the Mid-American Conference was boosted by Beeker, who piled up 13 strikeouts and allowed a lone run on three hits and a walk over seven innings. Beeker has been the best starter in the MAC this year — he has 105 strikeouts in 65-plus innings with a 4.66 ERA and a 7-3 record.

Jakob Wright, Cal Poly
vs. Utah Tech — W, 8 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 9 K

Alongside Gallagher & Verdugo, Wright has been one of the Big West’s top starters. He entered last night a few starts removed from nine shutout against UC Davis and was similarly dominant against Utah Tech. Nine strikeouts to just three hits, one walk, and a lone run.

Ryan Johnson, Dallas Baptist
vs. Liberty — W, 6 IP, 3 H, BB, 8 K

A run of three consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts was snapped, but it was yet another quality start for the DBU ace. Johnson struck out eight, didn’t allow a run, and walked a lone batter while scattering three hits. In 13 starts, he has a 1.79 ERA and a gaudy 137:11 K/BB ratio.

jamie arnold

Featured Image via FSU Athletics