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The Extra Point: Webster pitcher racks up the strike outs after switch to NCAA Division-III
Chris Jansen didn’t think Division-III baseball was the place for him when he graduated from Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, Ind. But after just one season with St. Joseph’s College, he knew he wanted to be with a championship-caliber team.
Jansen searched for a new school with the help of St. Joe’s Head Coach Rick O’Dette. A team with back-to-back College World Series appearances and former Saint Joe’s coach was top on the list. Webster University filled those requirements. Head Coach Bill Kurich and the baseball team had a new Division-II transfer.
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Eight years ago, Kurich moved to Webster after he assisted O’Dette for four seasons.
Jansen said Division-I schools were above his talent level, but Division-III didn’t interest him after he visited two Division-III schools in Indiana: Hanover College and Franklin College.
In a season at St. Joe’s, he threw 19 and two-thirds of an inning with a 4.58 ERA. But he said the biggest improvement he made there was tightening his curve ball.
“In high school, it gave a lot of guys trouble,” Jansen said. “At St. Joe’s, I really tightened it up and made it less loopy and harder for a hitter to see.”
He said against right-handed hitters, his go-to pitch is that curve ball, which breaks in the air toward a hitter’s back knee. But against left-handers, he tries to overpower them with an inside fastball.
“I started tightening up my location for an inside fastball, and now I have my two-out pitches,” Jansen said. “So it’s been a development for me from high school as a contact guy – now I’ve honed my skills and really hit spots.”
Those skills led to Jansen’s 15-strikeout performance in seven innings against MacMurray College – Illinois. on March 29. It was a new Webster record for strikeouts in a game.
Jansen is 3-1 and leads the team with 44 strikeouts through 39 innings pitched this season.