Ben Lively K's 8 In His First Start For The Blue Wahoos
UPDATE: Ben Lively lasted 3 2/3 innings for the Blue Wahoos Monday evening as Huntsville beat Pensacola 6-2. Lively took the loss. He gave up 3 runs, struck out 8 batters, walked 5 and hit one with a pitch. His 8 strike-out performance is a new team record for a Blue Wahoos pitcher's first start. He leads the Cincinnati Reds organization with 103 total strikeouts on the year and is second overall in all of minor league baseball.
Ben Lively has had quite a year. Just last June after finishing his junior year as a starting pitcher for the University of Central Florida, the 22 year old Gulf Breeze High School graduate was the fourth round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the baseball draft.
He has risen quickly through the Reds system, compiling a 10 and 1 record this year for Bakersfield in the California League for 95 strikeouts in only 79 innings. He also started the Carolina vs California League All Star Game last week and got the win with two scoreless innings of work. He'll be on the mound tonight at Bayfront Stadium making his first start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos after being called up to double A last week. Ben says that as soon as he was picked by the Reds, he thought about pitching before the hometown crowd.
He credits his college coach Terry Rooney for getting him into a routine and encouraging good habits. He also said his pitching coach this year in A-ball, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Browning talked to him about confidence and mixing up his pitches.
Lively also said he was surprised and pleased by being called up to double A ball so soon...and that many of his team mates in Bakersfield who were called up with him have been asking him about the area, where to live and good places to eat.
Lively expects the stands to be crowded with his friends and family as he makes his first start tonight. "My phone hasn't stopped ringing!". He expects there to be some nerves before the game, but those will disappear after the first pitch. "That pitch may be halfway up the back stop, who knows".
Ben Lively starts tonight as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos complete their five game series with the Huntsville Stars at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. Game Time is 6:30. WUWF News.