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After moving to third, McColloch seeing time as pitcher again

Megan McColloch needed 12 pitches to retire Taft College in the fourth inning of a game last week.

Ten of those pitches were strikes.

McColloch struck out one and induced four ground balls.

Her pitching line in the box score: one single, an error and a pair of ground outs.

Since joining the Merced College softball team's rotation in mid-February, the All-Conference third baseman has had over a dozen identical innings.

And that's precisely why She-Devils coach Steve Cassady decided the sophomore should be pitching.

"All of our pitchers have good stuff, but they've been overthrowing or too fine with their pitches," Cassady said. "I needed someone to just come in and throw strikes.

"Megan can strike you out, but for the most part she just lets the defense do the work for her.

"We were a little erratic on the mound. We needed somebody to let the dog out."

The numbers are undeniable.

Since McColloch became a starter, the team is 8-3 and she is 3-0. In 23 1/3 innings, McColloch has surrendered three earned runs.

McColloch and MC will look to continue that success today when they host the Ed Anderson Classic.

The She-Devils open the three-day, six-team tournament with games against Cypress and Shasta at 3 and 5 p.m., respectively.

McColloch enters the tournament riding the high of Tuesday's no-hitter against West Hills.

She faced 24 batters, striking out five, and came within three errors of a perfect game.

The exciting thing for MC is that McColloch's only going to get better. The sophomore is still getting her arm back into shape after not pitching for over a year.

McColloch was an ace at Los Banos -- but with Samantha Pressler, Kristen Kronberg and Deborah McCollom already set to pitch for the She-Devils, Cassady moved McColloch to third base.

"All I did in high school was pitch, so the change was kind of fun," McColloch said. "There was a lot of action.

"It took a little while. I had a little issue with overthrowing first base.

"It helped a lot having Mallory (Bair) at first. You know that whether it's too high or in the dirt, she's going to catch everything."

McColloch's work ethic and naturally quick reflexes allowed her to pick up the position quickly.

So quickly, in fact, she was the hands-down choice for first-team All-Central Valley Conference as a freshman.

McColloch's time at third has helped her pitching, too.

"She had a groin injury from pitching for so many years straight," Cassady said. "Moving to third actually allowed that to heal up."

McColloch is only now rediscovering her pitching repertoire.

It's a process.

"Right now, I'm just basically throwing a rise ball, drop and change," McColloch said. "It gets frustrating knowing your pitches aren't doing what they did a year ago."

Now that's a scary thought for the rest of the CVC.