How Thatcher Hurd fixed a ‘mechanical hole’ and put in his best outing of the year vs. UNC

Thatcher Hurd put in his best outing of the year to give LSU a shot at hosting a super regional. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

It’s no secret that Thatcher Hurd hasn’t been himself this season.

The pitcher who struck out 12 batters in a regional and went six innings in game three of the College World Series was nowhere to be seen for most of this season. Hurd started the season as LSU’s day one starter, but eventually found himself outside of the starting lineup all together.

“My timing and my delivery was the biggest thing, it was out of sync,” Hurd said.

His 6.55 ERA wasn’t close to what the Tigers needed, and he never made it more than five innings pitched in any of his starts. In the season opener against VMI, he went just 2.2 innings and allowed four runs. It was a sign of things to come and not just a bump in the road for Hurd.

“Obviously the year was tough for myself personally,” Hurd said. “I got myself in a mechanical hole from tinkering too much. I really want to be the best I can possibly be. I love baseball. I over tinkered and made some changes and didn’t necessarily do them right.”

Without Hurd, game three pitching has been a season-long struggle for LSU. Behind starters Luke Holman and Gage Jump, the Tigers just couldn’t find anyone that could get it done against top level competition.

But if LSU wanted to make it to Monday, it needed someone to step up. After losing to UNC on Saturday, LSU needed to win two games on Sunday without Jump or Holman to force a game seven in the Chapel Hill Regional.

After using their best bullpen arm, Griffin Herring, on Sunday morning against Wofford, the Tigers turned to Hurd against North Carolina.

“Every time I take the ball I don’t want to let us down,” Hurd said. “I used past failures to push me, and they don’t sit right with me.”

But despite struggling all season, Hurd was a completely different player against the Tar Heels than he was for a majority of the season. He made his longest appearance since game three of the College World Series last year to keep LSU’s super regional hopes alive.

“I always want the ball,” Hurd said. “I’m really grateful I got the ball and happy to keep us in it.”

He went 5.2 innings against UNC and allowed just two runs without walking a single batter. It was his first appearance of the season where he pitched more than one inning without surrendering a free base.

“Getting ahead has been my main, biggest focus,” Hurd said. “I haven’t been getting ahead so that was the biggest focus.”

Hurd forced four three up, three down innings against the Tar Heels and kept UNC’s dangerous duo of Vance Honeycutt and Gavin Gallaher hitless. It was without a doubt Hurd’s best performance of the season and is exactly what the Tigers need to get back to Omaha.

“It took a lot of work,” Hurd said. “It feels good to, I guess kind of get rewarded for it so to speak.”

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Will Nickel

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