Silas Ardoin told reporters Friday how special Ty Madden is on the mound. His consensus 98 miles per hour fastball, plus control under pressure has made him a star for Texas.
Simply put, there isn't a pitcher like him in the sport.
"Ty took me under his wing whenever I got here and I'm very thankful for him," Ardoin said. "It's been a pleasure working with him.
"I can't thank him enough for what he's done."
Madden, who is projected to be a top 15 selection next month in the MLB Draft, got the call to open the super regionals. If Saturday marks the end of his time at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, he left the crowd wanting more.
The Longhorns (46-15) ace did his part through 6 2/3 innings against South Florida (31-29), allowing his offense to take the night off. Though the bats came alive late, it was Madden's performance that kept Texas alive in a wild 4-3 victory.
"What the kid has done for our team with his leadership and his work ethic has helped mold this culture," Texas coach David Pierce said.
"For him to go out tonight, you know, lay it on the line, give it everything he had, again, you just can't ask anything else from him."
Madden relied heavily against Arizona State on his fastball. A week later, he would switch things up, trusting the slider as his payoff pitch. Payoff it did as eight of the nine strikeouts on the night came from the hands of the off-speed.
Not every pitch would fall right down the middle. Madden mixed in balls outside the zone and in the dirt, trying to get the USF bats to chase. While his pitch count went up, the score stayed at zero.
Madden's control remained smooth as the game progressed. He jammed batters to force popouts with runners in scoring position. He found ways to force inning-ending double plays when he walked a batter to start the frame.
Of the three hits, none went for more than a single.
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"They were really struggling with the slider," Madden said. "It's been my best pitch all year and so, in games like that you can't take a pitch for granted."
The one damper on Madden's night was his final pitch that led to a walk. Pierce elected to go to the bullpen with a runner on second and two outs.
The good news? Tanner Witt needed three pitches to strike out Nick Gonzalez, holding the score a 2-0.
"If you look at the numbers I think Tanner Witt has the lowest batting average against with runners in scoring position in the country," Madden said of the freshman. "You're going to have a lot of confidence as a pitcher handing the ball to him with a runner on second knowing more than likely he's going to get out of that."
Ardoin said he's not sold that Madden's last start in Austin would be Saturday. It sure felt like it as he exited the mound to a roar of applause from over 7,000 Disch faithful.
As Witt warmed up, Madden reappeared from the dugout to give his curtain call, thanking those for the memories on the Forty Acres. If this is the end, he couldn't ask for a better goodbye.
The off-speed sent the Bulls packing. The control was enough through 107 pitches. Without Madden, who knows where Texas would be in 2021 altogether?
Eric Kennedy closed the door with a walk-off double to seal the Longhorns' victory, but it was Madden's dealing that gave Texas a chance. Now, they're a win away from returning to Omaha.
"It's been a great three years and we're not done yet," Madden said.
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