Dodgers draftee Sborz dominant at CWS
OMAHA, Neb. -- Josh Sborz's dominant postseason continued Saturday on college baseball's biggest stage.
The Virginia right-handed reliever blanked Arkansas over the final three innings of the Cavaliers' 5-3 win in the College World Series opener at TD Ameritrade Park, allowing one hit and striking out five.
"His fastball was about 90 [mph] and his slider was about 85, 86," Arkansas center fielder Andrew Benintendi said. "I think maybe we were too jumpy. His slider had a lot of bite to it."
Sborz, the No. 74 overall pick by the Dodgers in the 2015 Draft, usually has a fastball in 93-95 mph range, with some sink, and a slider that projects to be at least Major League average. Although his stuff wasn't as filthy Saturday, he got the job done -- which has become standard.
Saturday's outing was Sborz's fourth career win in 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, and he's allowed just five runs (two earned) in 25 postseason innings, to go with 28 strikeouts and 12 walks.
This season, Sborz is 5-2 with 14 saves, a 1.86 ERA and .162 average against in 30 appearances.
"He throws strikes. He attacks you. That slider is, what, 84 to sometimes up to 87, 88 mph. It's a pretty darned good pitch," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "So you have a lot of confidence in him that he's going to go at them and give his best. And he's been pretty darned near as good as you can be all year long for us."
Aside from his fastball and slider, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Sborz also shows solid feel for a changeup that he really doesn't need as a reliever. Last season, Sborz posted a 2.92 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) while mostly working out of the rotation, and the Dodgers have said they plan to begin developing him as a starter.
But that's in the future. For now, Sborz is in a groove as a collegian -- he's allowed one unearned run and struck out 11 over his last five appearances (nine innings) -- and his teammates are confident whenever he steps to the mound.
"He goes out there and attacks them. He's the guy you want in that situation," Virginia third baseman Kenny Towns said. "He's shown it the last couple of weeks, and especially of late. He wants to be that guy, and he has gone out and done the job for us many times."
Sborz did it again Saturday. And, given the opportunity again in the future, seems likely to be able to get it done again.