Aug. 21, 2012
By Stephen Trembley
SAN DIEGO --- With his family in the stands at San Diego's Petco Park, former Fresno State baseball player Justin Wilson trotted out to the hill for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth inning on Monday night while making his Major League Baseball debut.
He quickly got to work and struck out the side while allowing two hits.
"I was just trying to control the body a little bit," Wilson told MLB.com. "I was mainly trying to just look at [catcher Rod Barajas], watch his target. I felt a little tentative with the arm, just with the nerves and everything, so I just tried to focus on Rod more than anything else."
But the southpaw masterfully controlled those nerves and everything like veteran in working a scoreless frame after flying into San Diego from Syracuse just hours before the game.
"My parents were actually in Syracuse with us. ... So they flew back here this morning. Wife, sister are all coming," Wilson had told MLB.com prior to the game. "I'm extremely excited."
And his focus and excitement helped fuel two quick strikeouts of the Padres' Yonder Alonso and Alexi Amarista before giving up the two singles. Wilson refocused to fan the final batter - Everth Cabrera - to finish up an impressive debut wearing the black and gold for the first time.
During the broadcast, the announcers referenced Fresno State and Wilson's role as winning pitcher in game three of the 2008 College World Series Finals that clinched the national championship for the Bulldogs.
Wilson, who prepped at Buchanan High School before starring at Fresno State, was drafted by Pittsburgh with the second pick of the fifth round (No. 144 overall) in the 2008 MLB Draft.
He worked his way through the Pirates' organization over the past four years. This year, Wilson was part of two no-hitters (one solo and one combined) and went 9-6 with a 3.84 earned run average and 130 strikeouts in 131.1 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Wilson is now the fifth current Bulldog playing in the Major Leagues, joining Doug Fister (Detroit Tigers), Matt Garza (Chicago Cubs), Casey McGehee (New York Yankees) and Tanner Scheppers (Texas Rangers).
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Remember to vote every day for Fresno State at www.ESPN.com/CollegeColorsDay and wear your Bulldog red on Aug. 31 for College Colors Day.
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