For as long as he can remember, Aliso Viejo (Calif.) Aliso Niguel pitcher Ethan Reed has been a fan of the USC Trojans. He’s watched the cardinal and gold in various sports since he was a kid.
When the 6-foot-4, 180-pound prospect began looking into potential collegiate destinations, he tried out a couple of other schools, but things kept coming back to USC.
“I went on some visits and when I went to USC I just knew that's where I wanted to be,” Reed said. “Really cool coaches. I had a good relationship with them and I just had a feel for the school and I liked it a lot.”
He chose to commit to the Trojans in September before beginning his junior season for Aliso Niguel where he also plays outfield and basketball. At the next level, it will be all about pitching for Reed. The right hander has a four-pitch mix that includes two breaking balls — curveball and a slider — and a changeup to complement his fastball that he can run into the low 90s.
The slider moves with downward with a 9-to-4 action while the curveball is a 12-to-6 hammer, dropping straight down. Reed has confidence in both pitches and uses them interchangeably to get weak contact and strikeouts depending on which pitch he has a better feel for each outing.
Reed’s goal is to be able to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes at any point in the count and have more consistency with both. That’s what he is planning to focus on this offseason after hopefully taking Aliso Niguel to a state championship.
“I'm going to be working with that over the summer, really getting my curveball to where I can throw it for a strike very consistently, changeup too. Changeup I feel comfortable with, but my curveball I need to work on a little bit.”
Whether he is on the mound or in the batter’s box, Reed tried to keep things simple and have fun with his teammates. When he pitches, he tries to attack the zone.
“First pitch strikes are key. I think that helps me a lot. Getting ahead in the count for sure. You just get more confident. Then i just try to be bulldog up there.”
One of the things USC likes about Reed is his competitive spirit. This season, he is 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 26 innings. Last week against La Mirada, he threw five shutout innings to earn a win in the Boras Classic and also went 2 for 3 with a walk, run and RBI to help his cause in the same game. He believes he has a chance to earn some innings as soon as he gets to campus. He has watched how much USC has relied on young arms this season and sees an opportunity to pitch right away.
“I believe I can make an impact immediately. I know they're young this year. They've got some freshmen that have got Friday night starts, which is pretty cool. I think they get after hit. I know Coach [Dan] Hubbs really works with them well, so I'm looking forward to being there with them.
“I’m just going to keep getting stronger, better and we'll go from there and see.”
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