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Hurston Waldrep’s hard work paying off

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 8:11 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Hurston Waldrep has erupted as Southern Miss’ Sunday starter this season.

The sophomore right-hander is 5-1 in 11 starts with 83 strikeouts and a 2.34 earned-run-average. Opposing batters are hitting just .190 against him.

“He’s fun to watch,” said sophomore pitcher Tanner Hall, USM’s Friday night starter. “I love watching him. I kind of go up to him and ask him in between innings, ‘Like dude what pitch was that? That was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.’”

Hall wasn’t the only person with that reaction after Waldrep clocked 100 mph in an April 24 win over Rice.

“You can tell your body, the way your body syncs up and you can feel the harder ones and you can tell by the crowd a little bit,” Waldrep said. “When they see it, you get a little reaction from them and you can tell - that one might’ve been the one.”

Waldrep doesn’t just throw hard, he works hard.

Nicknamed “Thor” not just for his long hair but the commanding presence he brings to the mound.

“He’s an intense competitor,” said USM pitching coach Christian Ostrander. “You should see him work out in the weight room. Everything he does, he really attacks it with a high intent I guess. And he pitches that way too. That’s a powerful quality to have ‘cause when you’re standing on that mound everybody sees it and they feed off of it.”

What Waldrep’s doing this season is a product of the experience he gained last year and the work he put in during the offseason.

He logged just 16 1/3 innings in 2021, but two postseason saves really boosted his confidence.

“Big learning experience for me, seeing what I had to do to come back as a starter this year,” Waldrep said. “So being able to be in the big moments and learn from the big moments from guys above me and being able to go out there and do it later in the year. Was definitely what I would probably credit a lot of this year to.”

“Hurston’s a competitor, he’s an alpha,” Ostrander said. “He’s a guy that has a type A personality, he wants it. He knows what he wants. And I think it was really hard on him last year of not being in that role that he knew he could do and so forth. But Hurston also’s grown a lot. I think he’s matured a lot and he’s gotten a lot more control of his body, mentality and everything and I think that’s what you’re seeing now.”

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