Did Texas, BC coaches put pitchers at risk? 

May, 31, 2009

By now you've probably read about the 25-inning game yesterday between the University of Texas and Boston College, which featured incredible performances by Texas reliever Austin Wood (13 innings, 169 pitches) and BC reliever Mike Belfiore (9.2 innings, 129 pitches) to keep the game scoreless into the small hours. However, we must not overlook the unconscionable decisions by Texas coach Augie Garrido and BC coach Mikio Aoki to expose two talented young pitchers to potential arm injuries, demonstrating not only poor judgment but willful ignorance of the connection between overuse and arm injuries.

Wood's total of 169 pitches is the second-highest official pitch count of any Division I pitcher this season, although analyst Boyd Nation (whose Pitch Count Watch page is the source for this information) estimates that a handful of other outings came in around 170 pitches. Of course, all of those figures are for starters who were working on at least five full days' rest -- typically six -- and whose arms had become accustomed to throwing 100-plus pitches each week. Wood was moved to the 'pen this year and is now used to throwing only a couple of innings at a time ... and he had thrown 30 pitches the night before, so he was already at less than 100 percent.