Augusta State University baseball coach Skip Fite hauled in one of its finest recruiting classes last fall, and that group included Justin Walker.
But Walker, an Evans High School graduate, was certainly not the star of ASU's incoming freshmen baseball players.
Walker had been a standout pitcher and infielder for the Knights, and was considered a nice local pick for Fite.
The Jaguars had more highly-regarded newcomers, such freshman Garrick McGrath, a first baseman and third baseman from Marietta. Another blue chip for ASU was catcher/third baseman Andy Hudson of Cartersville.
McGrath and Hudson have performed well for Augusta State this spring, but so far during the 2003 season, Walker has been a key player for the Jaguars.
The right-hander improved his record on the mound to 3-0 with a win last week. Walker worked seven innings and allowed five hits in Tuesday's game against Southern Indiana, and helped ASU pick up a 9-1 victory.
Walker displayed a wicked curve and struck out seven, boosting his strikeout total this season to 25, in just 24 innings pitched. What's more impressive is he has issued only five walks, and has given up just two earned runs.
The freshman from Columbia County has an earned run average below 1.00, which is unheard of in college baseball.
It may be too much to ask for Walker to continue at that pace, but I sure hope he does. And so does Coach Fite.
Normally, I can't write a paragraph about ASU baseball without raving about senior Matt May.
The Harlem High School product had posted a .433 batting average through the Jags' first 16 games this season, but May injured his thumb during a game against UNC Pembroke on March 2.
May suffered some ligament damage and could be out for the season.
If that's the case, it's an extremely unfortunate turn of events for May and his team.
And, it would prematurely end what has been a fantastic college career.
After hitting .290 as a freshman, May hit .378 as a sophomore and .371 as a junior. The lefty collected 149 hits in 101 games the past two seasons.
May has been solid as a rock for Augusta State, and it would give the Jaguars a real boost if he managed to return this spring.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.