In a February game against the No. 4-ranked Texas A&M Aggies, Pepperdine Waves junior Pitcher A.J. Puckett faced adversity. He gave up for runs in the first three innings, walked a batter, threw a wild pitch and received a visit at the mound from first-year pitching coach Rolando Garza.
But after the rough start, Puckett dug deep and didn’t allow any other runs for the next five innings. He was eventually replaced by sophomore Max Gamboa, but that game sparked something inside Puckett that has carried him through the rest of the season.
“He had some adversity, gave up a few runs,” Garza said, “but he put his foot down and really started to trust himself and took the bull by the horns. In my opinion, he hasn’t really looked back from that.”