March 4, 2011
By: Ryan Feiock
Special to UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Tex. - Callie Collins wasted no time in making a splash during her freshman season at UT Arlington.
Through her first 10 games, Collins has a 6-1 record with a 1.25 ERA, throwing 50.1 innings and accumulating 57 strikeouts.
So far, Collins has exceeded expectations.
"It's wonderful seeing Callie perform this well this early, but I was also a pitcher so I take things a little slow," UTA coach Debbie Hedrick said. "Even though I know of all the great things that can happen we also know we're learning and gaining experience as we go."
At 5-foot-4 with a tiny frame, it's surprising to see how much power Collins packs behind her pitches. Then you see her delivery - specifically the way she puts every pound of her body into every pitch, eventually lifting off the ground - and you start to understand how she produces so much velocity.
Yet Collins is also able to maintain her control as well, walking just 21 hitters in 50.1 innings.
"She's feisty, isn't she," Hedrick said. "She has a lot of power in that little body, for sure."
Collins' velocity is only part of what makes her special inside the pitcher's circle. She also produces great movement on her pitches - especially on her patented drop-ball.
That movement has baffled hitters at times. Against Centenary, Collins recorded 15 strikeouts. She punched out 12 more against Creighton the next day.
She ultimately earned SLC Pitcher of the Week honors, throwing 15 innings, holding the teams to two runs on 10 hits and five walks.
Collins' only loss came against No. 23 Texas A&M. She pitched 6.0 innings, giving up four runs.
She bounced back from that loss by winning four of her next five starts.
Hedrick is impressed with the way Collins has developed and matured so quickly as a freshman. Still, Hedrick knows there is plenty of room for improvement - specifically in learning how to pitch at the collegiate level - and looks forward to seeing what her prized freshman can do over the coming seasons.
"She's a competitor," Hedrick said. "She's determined and when she realizes just how good she can be she will do great things."
Collins said that while the individual accolades have been nice, it isn't just about her. She is team-oriented and knows she needs plenty of support to get the Mavericks where the team wants to go.
"I think me and Teri (Lyles) both are going to anchor this team, with Alexis coming in and relieving us when needed," Collins said. "It's all going to be really good working together."
So far that 1-2 punch has proven devastating for opponents. The Mavericks just completed a three-game sweep of Texas State, who finished runner-up in the SLC Tournament in 2010.
"We'll hopefully win a lot of conference championships," Hedricks said. "Really between her and Teri, I feel we have the best pitching combination."