New Balance Players of the Game: Day 3

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- With a light fog hanging over Blair Field and a temperature in the 60s, the conditions weren’t exactly conducive for pitchers this morning as the Oakland A’s took on the Texas Rangers in the first game on Day 3 of the Area Code Games.

But A’s starter James Marvel didn’t let that bother him. The 6-foot-3 right-hander out of Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) came out of the gate with guns blazing, hitting at least 90 mph on the radar gun eight times in his three innings of work. Overall he allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out two to earn the New Balance C.J. Wilson “Throw Strikes Award” as the Pitcher of the Game. Marvel left the game with a 3-2 lead, but the Rangers ended up winning, 7-4.

“Obviously pitching later in the day is nice because the arm’s a little more loose in the warm weather,” said Marvel, a Duke commit. “But I tried to get everything done the same way as I usually would."

That meant setting the alarm clock for 5:45 a.m. for an early breakfast before arriving at the park at 7 to go through his full stretching routine.

It paid off early, as Marvel set down the Rangers in order in the first on five pitches, all of which were over 90.

“I talked to my catcher beforehand in the pen about how we wanted to challenge guys early with the fastball,” Marvel said. “We stuck with that and it worked.”

We've got James Marvel blogging for us. Check it out here.

Game 2: New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals

Karl Keglovits sure enjoys the Area Code Games.

As a rising junior last summer, Keglovits fanned six batters in his first appearance at the event. Pitching again for the Yankees this year, Keglovits struck out a trio of batters in his three innings of shutout work today vs. the Nationals.

The 6-foot-5 righty out of Nazareth Area (Nazareth, Pa.) earned the win in the Yankees' 5-4 triumph and picked up the New Balance C.J. Wilson “Throw Strikes Award” as the Pitcher of the Game.

"I'm having a great time out here again, and I think our team's a little better this year, too," said Keglovits, who hit 90 mph on the radar gun once . "Our bats are better, so our pitching has to step up."

Keglovits did just that, helping his team get into the win column after losing a 4-2 game to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday. He set down the side in order in the first inning then allowed only a single hit in each of the next two innings.

"I went into the game focusing on keeping the ball down in the strike zone," Keglovits said. "I was happy with my fastball command — I was putting it right where I wanted. And my secondary stuff just flowed off that."

Game 3: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kansas City Royals

Five batters into the day's final game, the Royals looked like they were in serious trouble. After a single, a double, a single, an error and another single, the Brewers had plated four runs and looked like they weren't anywhere near done. Amazingly, they plated just one more run that inning and didn't bring another run home until the ninth.

In between, the Royals scratched their way back into the game and eventually broke it open en route to a 12-7 win. But without the seven consecutive goose eggs posted by the Royals pitching staff, a comeback would have been extremely unlikely. Because of that, the quartet of Carson Kelly, Jacob Schroeder, Andrew Sopko and Marty Luckenbach share the New Balance C.J. Wilson “Throw Strikes Award” as Pitchers of the Game.

"As long as we kept pounding the strike zone," Schroeder said, "we knew we could stay in it."

Schroeder and the Royals did exactly that, delivering first-pitch strikes to seemingly every Brewers batter.

After the first five Brewers reached against him, Kelly, a rising senior out of Westview (Portland, Ore.), settled down and faced just six more batters, retiring five and picking off another. Schroeder, a rising senior from Ferndale (Wash.), followed with two dominant innings in which he allowed just one single. Sopko, a rising senior out of Loyola Sacred Heart (Missoula, Mont.), gave up two singles in two innings but threw another pair of zeroes up on the scoreboard. Luckenbach, a rising senior from Woodinvale (Wash.), put together two perfect innings before surrendering two meaningless runs in the final frame.

All told, the Royals pitchers combined to give up just four hits from the end of the first inning through the end of the eighth.

"Nobody got down in the dugout," Sopko said. "We're a good team. We've been pitching well. We knew we'd come back."