Pride of Advance

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Garrett Broshuis almost certainly won't pitch tonight against his former local team when Southeast Missouri State University visits the University of Missouri for the Indians' final non-conference game of the season.

Such is the status of the Tigers' junior right-hander from Advance High School who is having a season that places him among the Big 12 Conference's premier hurlers. He's simply too valuable to use in a non-conference game.

"I'm excited about how things have been going for me so far this year," Broshuis said during a recent telephone interview.

Already a three-year member of MU's starting rotation, Broshuis is having by far his best season with an 8-0 record and a stingy 2.70 earned-run average. In 83 1/3 innings, he has allowed 72 hits while striking out 72 and walking 20.

Broshuis went 5-3 with a 7.11 ERA last season and 5-6 with a 6.64 ERA as a redshirt freshman, although he did lead the Tigers in wins and innings pitched that rookie campaign.

After a sophomore year that Broshuis termed "embarrassing for me," he made some notable changes that he credits with helping him put up career numbers.

"I took the summer off from baseball all together. I just stayed up here, worked out hard and got into great shape," Broshuis said. "I think that rest really helped because you play about 50 games in the summer and then throw all fall, it just wears on the arm.

"I also lowered my arm angle a little bit, kind of three-quarters instead of over the top, after my coaches suggested it, and I really liked it. It's just a little more simple for me, and I'm a lot more consistent with that arm angle. It allowed me to switch from a curve ball to a slider, and my changeup got a lot better with the arm angle."

While not physically imposing at 6-feet-1 and about 185 pounds, Broshuis can reach the low 90 miles per hour with his fastball, although he said, "I usually sit around 88, 89. It's not much different from last year, but I've got more movement this year, and I've been able to maintain my velocity better."

Corralling the LonghornsBroshuis had a highlight-reel game against top-ranked Texas recently when he pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings and struck out a career-high nine as the Tigers upset the Longhorns.

"That was just a huge game for us as a team, and it was a thrill for me to beat the No. 1 team in the country," Broshuis said.

Broshuis, an all-stater in both baseball and basketball at Advance High School, is also a standout academically. In his four years at MU -- including when he redshirted -- Broshuis has compiled a near-perfect 3.92 grade point average while majoring in psychology.

Broshuis, who is just six hours short of graduating -- after which he will take graduate classes while playing his senior season for the Tigers next year -- has only received one grade less than an A while at MU. And at Advance, he was class valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA.

"I actually got my only B my first semester here," he said with a laugh.

The Tigers (30-20-1, 9-14) received an NCAA regional bid last season, and Broshuis is hopeful they'll finish strong enough this year to earn another berth from the rugged Big 12 Conference.

"Our record against top 25 teams is above .500, and I think if we finish strong we'll build a pretty good case for regionals," he said.

Broshuis earned one of his six wins last season against Southeast as he worked five innings of a 9-8 triumph. He said he considered playing for the Indians (24-24, 13-10 Ohio Valley Conference) before settling on Missouri, which defeated Southeast 6-3 on March 24 in Cape Girardeau.

"I actually hadn't followed Missouri baseball that much, but I had been at a lot of SEMO games," said Broshuis, who pitched several summers at Southeast's Capaha Field as a member of Cape Girardeau's American Legion team. "I thought about going to SEMO but I felt like Missouri was a better fit for me, and it's worked out well."

Has it ever. Broshuis is performing so well that he has drawn some attention from professional scouts, meaning he could eventually have a chance to play for pay in the future.

"I try not thinking about it. I think that's one of the things that's helped me have a good year," Broshuis said. "If it happens, I'll make a decision from there, but I'm definitely not counting on it."

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