From Hoser to Hooiser: Matt Lloyd Succeeding in Indiana
By Michael DiStefano
Canadian Baseball Network
It’s not too often a team can rely on the same player to pitch 1 2/3 innings and stay in the game to hit a walk-off homer two innings later.
That’s the case for the Indiana Hoosiers with Okotoks, Alta. native Matt Lloyd who has spent time in the infield, but primarily acts as the team’ designated hitter while often being used as a relief option out of the bullpen.
Lloyd’s versatility as a super utility player who can effectively hit, pitch, and field is sure to intrigue National League clubs if he elects to declare for the MLB draft in June.
Though the power hitting pitcher is currently undecided as to which position he will ultimately choose in the future, he hopes time will allow one of his two skill sets to develop stronger.
“I haven’t really decided what [position is] better for me, so I’m just trying to keep my doors open,” he said
The versatile Hoosier transferred from Iowa Western Community College where he hit .371 with nine home runs, 59 RBIs, and had a 2.78 earned-run average with a 7-0 pitching record to go along with the potent bat.
Lloyd’s unphased adaptability from the batter’s box to the pitching mound within the same game is a unique skill which takes a mentally strong individual to focus and excel in both areas.
“When I’m [the designated hitter] I know there’s a chance I could go in to pitch, so I’ll throw a flat count beforehand and work on my pitching stuff,” the right hander said, from Bloomington, Ind.
Through 15 innings this season the late-inning reliever has a 1.80 earned run average with two saves and a 2-0 record for the Hoosiers.
Lloyd’s bat didn’t have as seamless of a transition to higher level competition as his pitching did.
The left-handed hitter took some time to adjust, hitting just .200 after 14 games into his Division 1 career.
Lloyd has found his stride since then, currently batting .333 with six home runs and a team-leading 19 RBIs.
He credits a change in mind set for his success.
“I’ve kind of just relaxed in the box a little more,” the young Canadian said. “I was kind of pressing at the beginning of the year.”
The turning point in his season came against Northwestern University on March 24, where the rookie Hooiser hit three home runs, and has continued to swing a hot bat since.
“After the first home run at Northwestern I felt a lot of more comfortable in the box, and its carried over,” Lloyd said minutes after belting a walk-off home run to right field against Ball State for a 3-2 win in 11 innings. He also singled twice, retired the final two outs of the eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth.
“And I feel really good in the box lately.”