Daily Egyptian

Dawg talk with Dodd: Harrison cementing himself as Salukis’ ace

By Nathan Dodd, Sports Editor

Standing at 6-foot-4 inches, sophomore starting pitcher Brad Harrison is quickly becoming the most feared pitcher in SIU baseball’s starting rotation.

Before the season started I would have told you that senior Michael Baird would be the ace of the staff. Now, Harrison is quietly moving into that role.

Currently, Harrison sits near the top of nearly every pitching statistical category in the Missouri Valley Conference. His four wins lead the Saluki staff and are tied for fourth in the league.

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He also sports an ERA of 2.81 and 56 total strikeouts, both tops in the rotation. Harrison also shows great command of his pitches, as he has only allowed 11 free passes on the season.

While he may not possess the most electric stuff on the squad, Harrison has provided the most consistent results that coach Ken Henderson’s Salukis have seen all season.

Opposing hitters are challenged by Harrison’s ability to limit mistakes, pound the strike zone and change speeds effectively. As far as the art of pitching goes, Harrison is the best the Salukis have.

On February 27, he hurled a two-hit shutout at Belmont with 11 strikeouts on only 92 pitches. Exactly one week later, Harrison spun a one-hit shutout at SEMO with no walks and 13 strikeouts, both season-bests.

Against Valparaiso last weekend, he turned in another gem with 11 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of four-hit baseball.

While dominant on the mound, Harrison has been extremely efficient. In his four victories, he has averaged only 94.3 pitches and has gone at least seven innings in three of those wins.

His stuff has given batters fits all year, as the opposition is only batting a combined .196 against Harrison, the second-lowest in the MVC.

Along with being a standout starter, Harrison can absolutely rake at the plate.

Doubling as an outfielder, he has gone 7-22 this season with a home run, four RBI and two doubles. He also is the proud owner of a .318 batting average.

Perhaps the Salukis have their own version of Major League phenom Shohei Ohtani.

Maybe a tad far-fetched, but Harrison is a legitimate dual threat, nonetheless. He is a major weapon no matter where he is slated in Southern’s lineup.

As senior starting pitchers Michael Baird and Jamison Steege near the end of their careers, the Salukis can be rest assured that Harrison will anchor their staff over the next two seasons.

Sports editor Nathan Dodd can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @NathanMDodd.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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