Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Former Buckeye Luebke Quiets Quakes

Combing the internet came across this, solid ready about a former Buckeye, and its a slow day. I'll do my best to post stuff on other former Buckeyes as I come across it.

Former No. 1 pick allows one hit over eight innings

When Cory Luebke describes the start of the 2008 season, it doesn't sound pretty.
"I just got pounded," the 24-year-old left-hander said.

He found a flaw in his mechanics and began to simplify his delivery. It took time, but he figured out that his results wouldn't improve until he found a way to locate his fastball.

Luebke carried the lessons he learned into this season and is growing into the starter the Padres expected when they selected the Ohio State product with the 63rd overall pick in the 2007 Draft.

On Sunday, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound southpaw struggled with his off-speed pitches but located his fastball so well that he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the Lake Elsinore Storm's 6-0 victory over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

"I was getting in on guys' hands pretty good today, just making good pitches with my fastball, not getting lazy with it, pounding the zone," Luebke said.

Nine starts into the season, he is 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA. He has won his last three outings and four of five.

Because of his simplified delivery, he is able to make adjustments after each pitch, and success has followed.

"Instead of having an inning where my fastball was flying all over the place and I really didn't know what was going on, I'm able to make adjustments pitch-by-pitch now," he said.

Not only did Luebke struggle with his off-speed stuff against the Quakes, he also had to contend with errors to start the first and fourth innings. In the fourth, Hector Estrella ended up on third base with one out, but Luebke didn't let it shake his composure and struck out the next batter before inducing a groundout to end the frame.

"It's just something I've learned," he said. "It's something in the past I've struggled with. But now I try to look at what I did to the hitter during the at-bat instead of the result of the play. On both of those, I made good pitches. They just happen. That's the way it is."

With two outs in the sixth, Estrella broke up the no-hit bid with a single to right field. But that was the Quakes' only hit against Luebke over eight scoreless innings.

"It wasn't a terrible pitch, it just wasn't where it needed to be and the guy was able to slap it into the outfield," the Ohio native said.

It's still early in the season, but Luebke's confidence is growing. And it all starts with his fastball.

"I've gotten to the point where I feel like I can take that with me every outing," he said. "When I have a start where my slider or changeup isn't there, I've still got my fastball."

California League Pitcher of the Week

Luebke's player page

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