Is Norfolk State’s Matt Outman For Real?

Heading into his twelfth season as head coach of the Norfolk State University baseball program, Claudell Clark has done a good job of turning tools into skills. One such project has been Matt Outman, the Spartans pitching ace who had another outstanding season in 2015 going 8-2 with a 3.12 earned run average, while pitching a team high 75 innings and 12 starts.  As well, Outman led the team in strikeouts with 85 while holding opposing teams to a .223 batting average against.

In addition to Outman, Clark has some pretty potent offensive weapons for the 2016 season.

Leading hitters, Denathan Dukes (.357), Angelo Rosario (.338) and Roger Hall with 41 RBI all return for the 2016 season. LHP Devin Hemmerich an All-MEAC second-team selection and Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American in his rookie year also returns for the Spartans. Hemmerich tied for the team-lead with 13 appearances and 12 starts and RHP Michael Parmentier appeared in 13 games (5 as a starter) and  limited opponents’ batters to an average of a mere .212.

Matt Outman, interestingly, produced the same won-loss totals in 2015 (8-2) as he did the year prior. However, over the past two years he’s steadily put together better and better pitching numbers. Where he once simply assumed that every pitch was fastball after fastball, he now has a mixture of pitches.

What’s impressive is that opponents still haven’t seen all of what Outman can do. He’s always had velocity, but now he’s doing a better job of recognizing hitters and developing other tools to get hitters out.

As a left-handed pitcher, Outman is one of the better pitchers in the MEAC conference. He’s not necessarily a “strike everybody out” kind of guy because he knows he has a great defense behind him, but he can help Norfolk State this season in a number of different ways.

Last year, Matt Outman emerged as NSU’s ace in his second year while ranking first in the MEAC in wins and strike outs and in top ten in earned run average. He allowed 61 hits while giving up only 27 runs in 75 innings pitched.

Outman collected some hefty awards in 2015

Last season, Matt Outman was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Division I All-East Region second team, 2015 MEAC Pitcher of the Year, MEAC Pitcher of the Week on three different occasions, while helping the Spartans finish 27-16 and win the MEAC Northern Division regular-season title. Outman was also a big part of the Spartans being ranked as the second best team in HBCU baseball (large school division) by Black College Nines (BCN) in 2015. Going into the 2016 season, Outman was selected to Black College Nines’ HBCU Preseason All-American baseball team. In his two seasons with Norfolk State, Matt Outman owns a 16-4 record and is the first ABCA All-Regional honoree since right hander Luke Foss in 2007.

Norfolk State should be one of the top teams in the MEAC this 2016 season because few teams will have two hard throwing lefties who are top weekend starters like Outman and Devin Hemmerich.