BY: MATTHEW PRESLAR
A pitcher throwing a perfect game is one the most rare feats in all of sports. To complete a perfect game, a pitcher must retire each and every batter faced from start of game to finish. In most professional and college games (9 innings x 3 outs), this requires winning 27 consecutive battles with opposing batters, all the while being at the mercy of your fielders and umpires to be perfect on your behalf as well.
“Over the 140 years of Major League Baseball history, and over 210,000 games played, there have been 23 official perfect games by the current definition. No pitcher has ever thrown more than one... By contrast, there have been spans of 23 and 33 consecutive seasons in which not a single perfect game was thrown.”
These statistics show how rare it is to pitch a perfect game. In fact, in Major League Baseball, there have been 24 cycles recorded (a batter hitting a single, double, triple, and home run in a single game) since the last Perfect Game in August, 2012.
At this time I want to introduce you to Jake Kuchmaner. > READ JAKE'S ECU BIO HERE
Jake is a Sophomore pitcher for East Carolina University. He is a graduate of Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw, NC where he received accolades and recognition from all of the notable organizations and publications. I met Jake as he umpired youth baseball with our group in his latter high school years. As I’m sure he is now, Jake was very poised and mature beyond his years. Even though he was a star receiving many Division 1 scholarship offers, he was very humble and respectful to adults and children alike. He showed many qualities and traits that left no doubt he would be successful in life even if baseball never worked out. He also showed he would be worth keeping an eye on in the coming years.
On Sunday, March 17, Jake was given the ball to start on the road as the ECU Pirates traveled to Maryland. Jake came in to the game on a limited pitch count as he had a very long relief outing five days before at Duke. However, Jake kept his pitch count low as the game went and he recorded clean inning after clean inning...1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th...
“Originally, Kuchmaner was supposed to only throw a rough estimate of 50-60 pitches in Sunday's start. But that number went out the window when the left-hander stood on the brink of history. Despite ECU relievers warming up from the sixth inning onward, Kuchmaner finished the day with just over 100 pitches thrown in his second career complete game. He struck out eight.”
Jake ended the day in climatic fashion by striking out the last batter.
In theory, a perfect game at the college level should be considered a more difficult feat. Jake stuck out 8. Therefore he had teammates’ help on the 19 other outs. In my opinion this makes the college perfect game even more spectacular. At the major league level, fielders and umpires should be of higher quality than college baseball. This should increase the probability of the other outs being recorded. Therefore, the effort of Jake and his ECU team is astonishing.
March 17, 2019 Kuchmaner hit the record books as only the 28th Perfect Game in Division 1 baseball history.
Later that afternoon I text a message of congratulations to Jake. While most 19 to 20 year olds would be partying or celebrating with teammates and coaches, Jake again showed his character. He quickly replied in gratitude. He seemed genuinely happy that people “back home” were watching him and proud of his accomplishment. This speaks volumes on Jake and I can’t wait to see what is next for him.