Bethune-Cookman Wildcat and Presstman Cardinal Michael Austin (photo / bcuathletics.com)
The Bethune-Cookman baseball website lists rising sophomore Michael Austin as an outfielder/right-handed pitcher. Given his performance on the mound this summer for the Ripken League's Presstman Cardinals, that position listing might get reversed next season.
The Sykesville, Maryland native notched three saves and struck out 30 for the Wildcats this spring as a freshman. Of Austin's 20 appearances, 17 were from the bullpen as he helped Bethune-Cookman advance to the MEAC finals.
For Reggie Smith's Presstman club, Austin has moved into a starter's role and made the transition look easy. Austin has struck out 28 batters, second only in the Ripken League to teammate Jake Enterlin's 29. Overall he's 2-2 and has worked 24.2 innings. Four of his five appearances have been as a starter and Austin is holding opponents to a 1.82 era.
The 6'3" righty's best effort to date was a seven inning, 4-2 win over the Gaithersburg Giants on June 23. In that game he allowed just three hits, while holding Gaithersburg scoreless and striking out eight.
"Michael is doing a tremendous job for us. Due to the numbers he's put up the first half of the season, I'm convinced pitching is his future," said Smith.
The Cardinals (8-14) next play Friday on the road against Vienna (9-10). Game time is scheduled for 7 PM.