Mar 6, 2014 2:02 AM by Bill Halter
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Matt Imhof came to Cal Poly as a lightly recruited pitcher who by his own admission, was overweight. Now he's the Mustangs top starting pitcher and the 22nd ranked pitching prospect in the country according to Baseball America. "Cal Poly has made the biggest impact on my life, I was a pretty good high school player but I wouldn't call myself elite by any means. Wasn't really wanted by a lot of colleges, Cal Poly took a chance on me" said Imhof.
The 6'5" lefthander was 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA pitching mostly out of the bullpen as a freshman. After the season, Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee sent him to the school's kinesiology department to make a health plan. Imhof lost 25 pounds during the offseason, "he went away that summer and came back completely different and that kind of gave him the right mindset to what he needed to do from then on. Both from a strength aspect and from a nutrition aspect" said Lee. Imhof says it made him a better pitcher, "it brought more life to my fastball, made my arm stronger and my bodies never felt better."
Imhof was electric as the Mustangs second starter last season as a sophomore. He struck out 95 batters while only walking 30 in 101 2/3 innings. Imhof posted a 7-3 record with a 2.74 ERA. After helping Cal Poly make an NCAA regional he was invited to play for USA baseball's Collegiate National Team. Imhof was 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA in six appearances for Team USA. "He got an idea of what the rest of country had to offer in talent on the mound and he saw himself with that group and was succesful and it's led to a lot of confidence" said Lee.
In three starts this season, Imhof is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA. The junior has 26 strikeouts in 19 innings as the teams number one starter. When he pitches, attendance is a little bit higher as the seats are filled with Major League scouts. "I try not to take too much notice to it, I know they're there just based on the fact that I know they're going to come to my outing but once I'm on the mound I don't see them" said Imhof.
Imhof will likely forego his senior season with the Mustangs as he's set to be a high pick in the June, Major League Draft. He says right now his focus is on taking the Mustangs to new heights. "For us this year is all about one thing and that's winning a national championship."
Imhof will pitch for 9th ranked Cal Poly (9-2) on Friday night at Seattle (5-8).
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