LINCOLN — It’s around the sixth inning when Cal State Fullerton’s Tyler Peitzmeier normally stirs from his spot in the dugout, starts stretching and prepares to head toward the bullpen for a dozen warm-up pitches.
He has no clue if he’ll actually get into the game (quite often he does not), but the matchup lefty reliever makes sure he’s ready the moment his coach calls.
For now, this is the role for the sophomore from Yutan, Neb., who’s encouraged to have settled in and found his niche on a top 10 team full of talented Californians.
“It does kill you sometimes, because you’re warming up every game and you’ve always got to be mentally ready to go,” Peitzmeier said. “Situations change every inning. You might end up throwing pretty much a whole game in the bullpen.”
Peitzmeier is tied for second on the team with seven appearances, even though he hasn’t pitched in a game since March 8. He’s allowed two runs in five innings.
He could be among the Titans who pitch in two midweek games against Nebraska on Tuesday and Wednesday, though.
Peitzmeier, who said he was a “huge” Husker fan growing up, faced three NU batters and earned a win during a matchup in February. The first hitter was a familiar face: sophomore Blake Headley, who played travel baseball with Peitzmeier back home.
“That was very emotional,” Peitzmeier said. “I didn’t know how to take it at first.”
In high school, Peitzmeier had briefly considered the idea of playing baseball at Nebraska before deciding that he “wanted to go experience something new.”
He was a dominant lefty for Platte Valley’s co-op team, mature on the mound, deceptive with his delivery and accurate with his arsenal of pitches, according to his high school coach, Kurt Finkey.
California schools began showing interest. His personal pitching coach, Jim Haller, had ties out West. And there was a Nebraska-Fullerton College World Series game in 2001 that Peitzmeier remembers — he left the ballpark wearing a Titans hat.
“Tyler’s pretty hard-headed,” Finkey said. “He knows what he wants.”
Now he’s the only player who’s not from California on the Titans’ roster, hearing almost daily exaggerations from his teammates about how incredibly simple life used to be in his farm-covered, technology-stripped home state.
“I get that all the time,” Peitzmeier said. “(They say), it’s the first time I’ve watched TV or ask me about getting to drive a car for the first time.”
Peitzmeier doesn’t mind. He’s glad to be on the team, in a position where he’s contributing more.
He’d like to get right-handed batters out more frequently. Attacking inside against lefties is a goal now, too.
His parents visit about once a month. Peitzmeier said they’ll be on hand for the Nebraska series.
Peitzmeier said he’s excited to face the Huskers again, a series he found out about the first day he met Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook.
“He goes, ‘I just got off the phone with (NU coach) Darin Erstad. We’ve got games scheduled against them your sophomore year,’” Peitzmeier said. “I was kind of shocked. But it’s pretty awesome.”
Fullerton swept a doubleheader from Nebraska on the season’s first weekend. Both games on Tuesday and Wednesday are set to begin at 8 p.m.
The Huskers’ Luke Bublitz will start Tuesday’s game against Titan freshman Bryan Conant.
Contact the writer:
402-473-9585, email@example.com, twitter.com/JonNyatawa