OXFORD, Miss. — Dunn is done.
At least for the rest of the Oxford regional.
That’s about the only good news Tulane could take from Friday’s game after being mowed down time and time again by Boston College ace Justin Dunn.
If Tulane is to climb out of the loser’s bracket and win this regional, they won’t have to face anything like the heat they faced Friday afternoon in the 7-2 loss.
Dunn showed every bit why he is rated the No. 24 pro prospect in the country by Baseball America and will likely hear his name called no later than the second round of next week’s MLB draft.
The right-hander, who began the season as a closer but now is a starter, had a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings of what at times looked like effortless work against the Green Wave.
His arm seemed almost bionic at times.
His fastball was clocked at 95 mph on his second pitch of the game. In the seventh inning, it was still at 95.
He claims he was getting tired, but it sure didn’t look like it.
“I definitely felt like I was getting tired,” he said. “That sixth inning took a lot out of me. There was a point there I thought I wouldn’t even get to go out there in the seventh. But I knew if I could get to the seventh and turn the ball over (to Bobby Skogsbergh) we would have a good chance. So I just tried to grind through the seventh.”
His fastball got up to 96 mph at one point.
And another time, he apparently fooled the scoreboard radar gun because it showed 142 mph.
It obviously wasn’t that fast, but it surely probably seemed that way to the Green Wave batters — especially when he mixed it in with his slider, curve and changeup.
“There are a lot of good Friday night guys, and he’s no exception,” Tulane coach David Pierce said. “The thing is, he’s so clean in his delivery it’s easy.”
The only thing that probably would have stopped Dunn was Mother Nature. But even she wouldn’t cooperate, despite a forecast that wrongly predicted thunderstorms in Oxford all Friday afternoon. It rained briefly in the fifth inning, but that was about it.
Dunn had already reached eight strikeouts by then, just one shy of his previous career best of nine against Georgia Tech. He stuck out seven of the nine batters in the Tulane lineup at least once and four different batters at least twice.
He was just as poised during Thursday’s media day and during postgame interviews as he was on the mound.
He credits that composure to his two childhood heroes.
“I think it came from growing up watching Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter,” said the Long Island native. “Those were my two idols growing up. You see Mariano on the mound and you can never tell if he blew three saves in a row when he comes off the mound. And you can’t say enough about Jeter.”
But the lifelong Yankees fan ended up in Red Sox country playing for Boston College. On Friday, he put the Eagles in the winner’s bracket and put the Green Wave in a hole.
The Wave are confident they can climb out of it.
“We just need to take it one pitch at a time from here,” said Tulane first baseman Hunter Williams.
Fortunately for the Green Wave, none of the pitches the rest of the way will be coming from Dunn.