Baseball: Matt Manship
It's always easy to recognize Stanford freshman pitcher Matt Manship when he takes to the mound with his signature motion. Manship is the one that seemingly uses all six feet four inches and 205 pounds of his frame when he brings the ball to the plate.
'I guess I just try to get as much body into the pitch as possible,' said Manship. 'It doesn't feel strange at all to me when I'm on the mound, but other people have often said 'What are you doing out there or that's a pretty interesting delivery'. I've just told them that's the way that I throw.'
Although Manship's father, John, pitched at Arizona and the father-son duo threw bullpens together when Matt was growing up, he claims that the motion is just something that came naturally.
'My father actually threw much differently than I did,' explained Manship. 'He was very smooth.'
Manship did take private pitching lessons in high school but had already developed his unique delivery prior to those lessons and his private pitching coach Ben VanRyn did not try to change what he did.
'He recognized every pitcher as being unique,' said Manship. 'It's just one of those things where he wanted to work with what I already had.'
Stanford pitching coach Tom Kunis has also let Manship stay with his motion.
'As long you're balanced and the release point is proper, Coach Kunis believes that there can be several ways to get to that point.'
'I've never really changed my motion much,' continued Manship. 'I've always felt comfortable pitching the way I do. People call my motion 'herky-jerky, but I don't really view it that way.'
So far, so good.
Manship has been one of the team's top relievers early in his freshman year and has had some very memorable performances.
In his collegiate debut, he pitched 3.1 innings of shutout baseball to earn a save and combined with Tim Cunningham to one-hit Santa Clara in a 5-0 Stanford win.
He came up big at Texas with 1.2 scoreless innings and three strikeouts to hold on to an 8-7 lead and give the Cardinal a sweep of the defending national champs.
Manship picked up his first collegiate win in his most recent and perhaps most impressive performance at Washington State, giving up only a solo homer and striking out four in a career-best 4.2 innings of work.
Manship's 4.15 ERA ranks second among all Stanford pitchers with 20.0 innings or more this season and he has struck out 26 batters in 26.0 innings. Opponents are hitting just .181 with 17 hits in his 26.0 innings of work.
Hard work, that is.
by Kyle McRae
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