TMU coach Monte Brooks has said on more than one occasion this season that he hoped freshman Caleb Jaime would put the clamps on a crucial role in the Mustang bullpen.
Jaime, busy slinging fastballs and curves into the lower parts of the strike zone, appears to have accomplished that.
The 6-foot righty provided five innings of one-run relief Friday in a win over Hope International, TMU’s lone win over the host Royals in an important, three-game Golden State Athletic Conference series.
The Mustangs are 22-19 overall and 14-16 in GSAC, good for fourth place. The conference’s top five teams make the GSAC tournament later this month, and Hope International (one game back of TMU) and Arizona Christian (2.5 back) are close enough to bump TMU out of the final two spots with six games remaining.
Jaime was a highlight on an otherwise bumpy weekend, keeping the GSAC’s hottest offense mostly off the scoreboard and the base paths.
Hope has scored 66 runs in its last six games, and Jaime held it to five hits. He struck out nine and earned his first collegiate win.
It wasn’t an aberration.
In eight of Jaime’s 12 appearances this year, he hasn’t allowed a run. He holds a 2.14 ERA, a mark lower even than star closer Preston White’s.
The key to a smooth collegiate transition?
“I just know that I have a role to fill, and my role is to come in and give my best effort for the team,” Jaime said. “I’m a bullpen guy and that’s my job.”
The answer might also lie in his preparation: Jaime pitched Kentlake High of Kent, Washington, to the 4A state title game as a senior in 2017.
Jaime earned the win in the semifinal before his Falcons lost 3-2 at Safeco Field in the final.
“That was awesome,” Jaime said. “My team fought hard. We were scrappy.”
Jaime hopes to bring the same “bulldog” mindset to the bump for Master’s, which hosts Vanguard University this weekend at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
First pitch Friday is at 3 p.m. Saturday’s double-header starts at noon.
For more information on The Master’s University Athletics, visit GoMustangs.com.