Mat Troupe stood on the UCLA pitcher’s mound in early May, 18 miles from his hometown of Northridge, Calif., and what to him seemed like a million miles away from success.
He was in the middle of a two-inning, four-run performance and the closer, who 11 months earlier recorded the final four outs of the Arizona Wildcats’ national championship win, was lost.
“I was on that mound and extremely confused,” Troupe said. “I had no plan. I wasn’t throwing strikes. I wasn’t being aggressive. I wasn’t doing any of the things that a pitcher needs to do to be successful.”
Troupe walked seven batters the next weekend at Arizona State over three appearances and recorded just three total outs. He finished the season with respectable numbers-a 6-0 record with a 3.29 ERA and nine saves-but it wasn’t the sophomore season Troupe was expecting.
“I know I have the stuff to be successful,” Troupe said. “I just haven’t attacked the zone the way I need to. It’s not a fear factor. I’ve pitched in the College World Series. I just tend to lose it and I lost it.
“I know it’s there; I know how good I can be.”
Troupe will get a chance to back his words up next season, but it will be in a different role.
Read more of the Star's look ahead at Arizona baseball in 2014 in Sunday's paper.