Jeff Samardzija took the hill for the Daytona Cubs Friday for the first time of the season and pitched pretty well in his initial outing of the year. The former Notre Dame wide receiver tossed five innings allowing five hits (all singles), 1 earned run, and giving up 1 walk while striking out 1 as well.
Here’s some accounts of Samardzija’s start from around the web.
“I knew my pitch count was about 75,” said Samardzija, who threw exactly 75 pitches — 51 for strikes. “I felt good out there. It was the first game, and I was a little excited.”
Samardzija said he didn’t notice the home team was playing fight songs from former Fighting Irish rivals.
“You’ve got to expect that a little,” Samardzija said. “I didn’t really notice. If they did, they did. It wasn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last.”
“The majority of the time, he was pitching with his fastball,” Reed said of Samardzija. “He threw a couple of good sliders, but mainly he just attacked the hitters with fastballs. He came out pretty sharp and threw the ball well.”
On Friday, Samardzija’s fastball was consistently shown at 93 mph on the scoreboard at Space Coast Stadium throughout the night, Daytona broadcaster and media relations director Derek Ingram said.
“He never really got hit hard,” Ingram said of Samardzija’s outing after the game. “There were a lot of little bloop singles. I’d say everybody here is pretty happy with what they saw out of Jeff Samardzija tonight.
“His fastball was really establishing itself tonight. We saw 93 consistently on the board and occasionally 94, but you never know with these readings.”
“The sinker was moving,” Samardzija said. “”I got it up in the 90s, and turned it into a couple of double plays.”
Chicago Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita observed the game and liked what he saw.
“His sinkers looked like they dropped a foot,” Fleita said. “When he commands it like he did tonight, fills up the strike zone with strikes, he’s tough to hit. There’s a lot of positives that will come out from tonight and that’s why he’s here. All in all it was a great outing for him. He was focused, poised and made good pitches. He looks like he’s been doing this a long time.”
In addition to the fight songs that blared on the public address system, the game program also poked a little fun at Samardzija. Below an Irish football action shot of Samardzija were a USC logo and picture of former Trojans quarterback Matt Leinart.