“Pitching in the college world series was a dream come true,” Nathan Thornhill, right-handed pitcher for the Texas Longhorns, said. "I can remember watching those games as a kid, hoping I would be there on day. So actually being there was amazing.”
Thornhill finished his freshman year with an outstanding 1.89 ERA in 38 innings pitched, winning three games with no losses. Such strong play from a freshman pitcher comes to Texas just about as often as snow does, but if you can throw heat like Thornhill can, you’re bound to make batters ice cold on the plate.
“My freshman year was more than anyone could ask for,” Thornhill said. “I made a lot of great friends, plus I had a blast playing baseball.”
Fresh out of Cedar Park High School, Thornhill joined the Longhorns as an All-State batter and pitcher, as well as the District 14-5A Most Valuable Player in both baseball and as a quarterback in football. With all of these accolades, its safe to say the expectations placed on Thornhill were high, but his poise in pressure situations helped him maintain composure throughout his first year in Division I baseball.
“Going from high school baseball to college baseball was difficult in some areas but simple in others,” Thornhill said. “One difficulty I found was that everyone is good and the hitters will make you pay for your mistakes. One thing that remained the same was you still have to throw strikes and you will be effective.”
In his first start, Thornhill faced and retired 15 batters, pitching five perfect innings and striking out four batters. As the season progressed, he continued dominating anyone who stepped up to the plate. Thornhill went on to strike out 38 batters, while walking just six in a dream season for any freshman. Even with all of his accomplishments, Thornhill still believes he’s got a lot to work on.
“Things I need to do in order to improve are holding runners, and to work on making good pitches with my off speed,” Thornhill said.
In order to make the right adjustments, you need the right coaching. With over 1,800 wins and five College World Series Championships, it’s safe to say Augie Garrido is the right guy.
“Playing under Coach Garrido is a treat,” Thornhill said. “He is a legend and knows so much about the game of baseball. Whenever he is speaking, you want to listen because you know what he is saying is valuable.”
Garrido teaches a lot of things and a lot of things very well, and aside from the art of pitching and batting (and what the prestigious teachers of the University of Texas taught) Thornhill has discovered a few things on his own.
“I learned not to take anything for granted,” Thornhill said. “ Last year went by so fast and I only have so many more years of college baseball.”
Time does indeed fly – especially when you’re winning – so senior year may be here in a flash for Thornhill and the Texas Longhorns. However, that’s a ways down the road, and the kid from Cedar Park has his eyes fixed on his one and only goal for the next season.
“Get back to Omaha and come home with the big trophy.”