Bickerstaff Gains Comfort for Strike Zone

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JUNE 20, 2014

Archived Stories: June 10

Redding: "Where Legends are Born"

Summer ball is heating up across the country and in the Far West League Colt Bickerstaff and Jeffrey Curran have the Redding Colt 45s positioned at 8-4 and looking to build on a three-game win streak.

Bickerstaff, who played sparingly in right field and as the designated hitter, saw the majority of his action as a left-handed pinch-hitter late in the season for the Sooners. After starting 22 games in 2013, he took last summer off. However, Bickerstaff’s season in California isn’t his first experience in collegiate summer ball as he played for the East Texas PumpJacks of the Texas Collegiate League, where teammates Kolbey Carpenter and Hunter Haley are playing this summer with the Brazos Valley Bombers.

In limited opportunities this season, Bickerstaff hit .263 (5-for-19) and owned a .444 on-base percentage as he totaled seven walks. Overall, he appeared in 20 games, while making two starts, including an elimination game at the Big 12 Championship against Oklahoma State.

“My play has picked up a lot [this summer],” opened Bickerstaff. “I started out by trying to find my timing early on and it’s been going really well."

At the plate, Bickerstaff is hitting .333 (5-for-15) in five games played. He hit his second home run of the season Thursday night, a two-run shot in a 7-1 win for the Colt 45s. Bickerstaff has driven in six runs, scored four and added a pair of walks.

“A lot of schools like UC-Davis and San Jose State have players that make up the teams we play. I think, we have the best lineup. I’m getting to hit off a lot of lefties, which is something I really need to work on.”

In addition to his hitting and fielding duties, Bickerstaff has taken on some pitching, which began as side work during the season at Oklahoma.

“I started out pitching halfway through the year as a project and worked with coach [Jamie] Pinzino. He taught me a lot and I picked up a couple more arm slots and talked with coach [Pete] Hughes about my pitching. It’s been pretty successful so far.”

He has made two relief appearances and totaled three innings of work, while scattering three hits and not allowing a single walk or run. He struck out three batters across two innings in his first time on the mound on June 7.

“The coaches here in Redding help more with the mental side and preparation. I’ve talked to Pinzino a couple of times about [pitching] and what to be working on. Right now, I’m throwing upper-80s, but mostly trying to get comfortable in the strike zone. We’re already using the MLB-style ball that we’ll have for next season with the smaller seams.”

A regular on the mound for Oklahoma late in the season, Curran has taken on a starting role for Redding. He pitched in 20 games for the Sooners in 2014, all out of the bullpen, with a 1.71 earned run average and 25 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Primarily a lefty specialist, Curran began to log more innings and serve in a middle relief role for Oklahoma as the season wore one.

In his first start of the summer, Curran tossed seven-shutout innings in a win over the Merchants on June 14. He allowed only two hits and two walks, while striking out seven.

“Curran looked good,” stated Bickerstaff. “He went seven-strong and probably could’ve gone eight. He was throwing well and ran yesterday to get ready for his next start tomorrow.”

Cape Cod Baseball League
Craig Aikin, Harwich Mariners
Jacob Evans, Harwich Mariners
Anthony Hermelyn, Harwich Mariners
California Collegiate League
Alec Hansen, San Luis Blues
Sheldon Neuse, San Luis Blues
Austin O'Brien, San Luis Blues
Northwoods League
Keach Ballard, Duluth Huskies
Corey Copping, Duluth Huskies
Mac James, Duluth Huskies*
*Drafted/Signed by Tampa Bay
Texas Collegiate League
Kolbey Carpenter, Brazos Valley Bombers
Hunter Haley, Brazos Valley Bombers
Chad Nelson, McKinney Marshals
Far West League
Colt Bickerstaff, Redding Colt 45s
Jeffrey Curran, Redding Colt 45s
Alaska Baseball League
Tyler Gibson, Peninsula Oilers
Arizona Collegiate League
Cole Stevens, Sidewinders
Coastal Plain League
Tyler Coolbaugh, Fayetteville SwampDogs
New England Collegiate League
Joshua Ake, Plymouth Pilgrims



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