BSB: Athletic Trae Patterson Stands Out on Mound

Feb. 8, 2018

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Mavericks were in the midst of a close game at Georgia State on conference opening weekend.

Down to just 12 healthy position players and with Coach Darin Thomas considering a pinch runner, the UTA baseball player he asked to get loose was starting pitcher Trae Patterson.

That confidence in Patterson's athleticism showcases that he is not just your typical right-handed pitcher.

A 5-foot-10, 185-pound native of Haslet, Texas, Patterson began his collegiate career at North Central Texas as an everyday outfielder. This led to a place at Kansas State as a two-way player but injury and a subsequent redshirt season derailed Patterson's first chance at Division I baseball.

He established himself as a pitching prospect at his next stop, Cisco College, where he helped lead his team to the championship game of the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series as a late-inning reliever.

That season of just tapping into his pitching potential led Patterson to UTA as a junior in 2017, where he wasted little time stepping into a weekend starting role.

Patterson was a force on Saturdays for the Mavs, ranking second in the Sun Belt Conference in innings pitched (98.1), sixth in ERA (2.75), 12th in strikeouts (73) and fourth in wins (seven).

A control artist, Patterson walked just 22 in 2017, with opponents hitting just .241 – seventh best in the league. In Sun Belt play, Patterson went 6-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 10 starts, fanning 51 and walking just 16 in 66 innings.


 

 

Patterson twirled quality starts in 11 of his 15 outings, including a stretch of five straight quality starts to open league play. 

Defensively is where Patterson's athleticism stood out. He allowed only eight stolen bases in nearly 100 innings and picked off a pair of runners.  

"As an old two-way guy I know how runners like to work and have a good feel for that aspect of the game," Patterson said. "As any pitcher, I don't like guys running on me. Plus, it's a chance for me to control the speed of the game. No one likes to sit out there and play defense for a long time, it takes away from our hitters. It's not just focusing on the running game. It's also a reset. If I make a bad pitch here, I may be able to hold and reset and compete a little bit better the next pitch."

He was so valued by the Mavericks that after rain washed out the first three days of the Sun Belt Conference Championships at Georgia Southern, forcing the event to a three-day, single-elimination format, UTA turned to Patterson for the must-win start. He took a hard-luck loss in a 4-2 season-ending setback, allowing three runs in 6.1 innings.

"It was a tough luck situation being single elimination," Patterson said. "(Arkansas State) came in and played better than us that day."

Patterson enters 2018 in a new role, one as a polished veteran starter capable of leading a pitching staff.

"I feel like I have a better understanding of the workload, how to work with the team on more than one level, not just being a pitcher but helping the team grow," Patterson said.

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