When a hitter steps into the batter’s box against San Diego (Calif.) Torrey Pines right-hander Kyle Hurt, he is basically resigned to guessing which pitch is coming and then hoping he can hit it.
Knowing what is coming isn’t enough against Hurt. His fastball has been up to 95 miles per hour. He can throw his curveball to either side of the plate. His changeup bends back like a boomerang, diving in on right-handed hitters. Add in his ability to locate his devastating mix as one of the top command pitchers in the 2017 class and Hurt is a pitcher that is receiving a lot of attention from professional scouts. He was 8-2 with a 1.46 ERA as a junior. He struck out 91 in 67.1 innings.
But Hurt is committed to USC and has said he wants to go to college. He’s been enamored with the Trojans since the dramatic 2005 college football national championship game against Texas.
“It was like when I first moved [to California]. I was like, 'Oh USC, that looks like a cool school.' Then I got a letter when I was in the eighth grade. I was like, 'Woah.' And then they were interested in me.”
Hurt made the short trek up from San Diego for an unofficial visit and earned a scholarship offer on the trip. His mind was made up. He committed to be a Trojan. Hurt connected well with head coach Dan Hubbs, who also serves as the team’s pitching coach, and enjoyed his time with recruiting coordinator Gabe Alvarez. He was also blown away by the amenities available to USC’s student-athletes.
“The facilities there are crazy. The underground McKay Center is insane! It's so nice.”
USC’s 2017 recruiting class has the potential to be epic with a slew of high school All-Americans. Hurt was one of five USC commits selected for the Perfect Game All-American Classic in his hometown a week after being one of seven Trojan commits to participated in the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif.
Hurt was stellar at both events. At the PGAAC, Hurt pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out one. His fastball sat at 93-94 mph, topping out at 95. At the Area Code Games, with Hurt throwing multiple innings in his start, he maintained his normal velocity, pitching at 89-92 mph and touching 93. In three innings, he struck out five. Two of those came on his filthy 78 mph changeup.
“His changeup is so good,” said middle infielder Nick Allen, a fellow USC commit and All-American from San Diego. “That’s just a plus to say because his curveball and his fastball are good. He's got a bright, bright future ahead of him.”
Allen and Hurt played together on a travel ball team in the San Diego area from ages 9-12 before splitting up and going to different baseball training organizations. But this summer they were reunited on the summer circuit that included playing together on stops in Florida, North Carolina and Illinois before the last two events in Southern California. The two got a chance to room together in Chicago when they played in the UnderArmour All-American Game.
“Me and him, we kind of connected. We've always known each other. We've been good friends for a while. It was a good time,” Hurt said. “I love having him play behind me because the kid never makes an error. Never.”
“He is so smooth honestly and he's been one of my best friends for so long,” Allen said. “He's gotten better and better every time I've seen him. He's so calm and collected on the mound.”
Will their relationship help them both make it to USC?
“We actually have a whole group chat of all the kids that are committed there like Hans [Crouse] and [Nick] Pratto. We all want to go. It would be a great time for us,” Hurt said. “We talk about it a lot actually because if we all go, I think we would have a pretty good team up there. It would be fun.
“We just all want to go, but it just depends on the draft. What happens, happens.”