Salow’s toughness creates edge on mound
Kentucky southpaw Logan Salow stood on the McKethan Stadium mound looking to retire Florida preseason All-America shortstop Richie Martin in the bottom of the ninth inning and lift his team to a series-clinching win.
The sixth-ranked Gators had rallied with four runs in their final opportunity, and with the tying run on third base and two outs, it was a matchup between Salow and Martin.
Salow threw a first-pitch ball and then evened up the count. With rain pouring for the first time in the game, Martin attempted to lay down a bunt on the third base line. Salow jumped off the mound, scooped up the ball in his right glove and flipped it to catcher Greg Fettes, who applied the tag to finish the win for the Wildcats.
The night before, Salow had entered the game vs. the Gators with the tying run at the plate and two outs in the ninth inning. He delivered by striking out a pinch hitter to secure the win.
“That weekend proved I could do it,” Salow said. “You want to be in that situation; Friday, Saturday night, in Florida, on the road with the game is on the line. You come in with adversity. I came in with some tough situations and when it came down to it, the play that mattered I was able to get it. From then on out, it proved that I could pitch against the best … When you feel that feeling that you can pitch and you belong here, you can really then take that next step in wherever you are in pitching.”
That was a key weekend for Salow in his development into one of the top left-handed relievers in the Southeastern Conference as a sophomore.
He finished the year without eye-popping numbers, but his value to the 2015 Wildcats was unmatched. Over 23 appearances, Salow started two games, had a 1-1 record and a 5.32 ERA, with three saves and 27 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.
Following the season, Salow went to the prestigious Cape Cod League to continue his development.
“It is the best summer baseball you can possibly play,” Salow said. “If you grow up watching college baseball, you also grow up aspiring to play in the Cape. It is everyone’s dream to play in the Cape and it was certainly mine. To be able to get there and be moderately successful - I had my ups and downs - but to learn that I can compete at a high level was really special. It is going to help me this year and going forward.”
Salow’s arsenal features the ability to throw several pitches for strikes, get swings and misses and induce weak contact. But it is his toughness that keeps earning him key roles over the first two seasons.
“My mental approach has gotten a lot better,” Salow said. “Freshman year, I just wanted to be tough, and that was my mentality on the mound. Now I can take that, along with some skills I have developed over the last few years with some pitches, tweaking this and that, and my overall mental approach and the ability to concentrate on each pitch. You put it all together and you get a lot more on the mound than just someone who is going to be tough, grit their teeth, but being able to go out in the situation and execute, instead of hoping for the best.”
Salow will look to lead a bullpen that features several returnees, including lefties Dylan Dwyer and Zach Logue and right-handers Zach Strecker and Bo Wilson.
“Our bullpen is full of guys that can come in at any situation, whether it is the beginning, middle or end of the game,” Salow said. “That just speaks to our abilities to just come together as a team. Everyone is a starter in high school and the best success is when you can put your ego aside, fit into a role for the team, and we’ve got a lot of young guys who have just said they want to pitch for this team, doesn’t matter when, and that is going to help us from here on out. Especially this year, we have plenty of guys that just want to be on the mound. Being able to come out of the bullpen has really helped us develop as pitchers and not just be limited to one role. If you can do that, you are going to be on the mound a lot more.”
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