There is no argument about it. J.T. Perez is the ace of the Cincinnati Bearcats. He takes the ball on Friday and he has thrown more innings than anyone else on the roster. But this post isn’t about Perez. This post is about the budding ace behind him. That would be Cam Alldred, a junior left-hander who has turned from innings eater to dominant hurler. The change has come at the best possible time, as Alldred has morphed into the collegiate version of peak Clayton Kershaw as the American Athletic Conference schedule has heated up.
Alldred put forth an incredible effort against Wichita State on Sunday and, once again, his timing was impeccable. While throwing seven innings of one-run ball, he carried UC to the promised land of a road series win and a position in the AAC Championship. It marked his second-straight start of at least seven innings and third of the season overall. With how well he’s been pitching down the stretch, head coach Scott Googins will hope to get more such efforts.
It was teased a paragraph ago, but let’s dive into Alldred’s success against the AAC. He has made six starts in league play and averaged nearly six innings per outing for a total of 35 2/3. Opponents are batting only .183 against him in that time, while he has struck out 43 batters. His work against the Shockers marked the fifth time this season he has punched out at least seven, with four of those efforts coming against conference foes. Even before the conference schedule got going, Alldred was the strikeout king for the Bearcats, but he has found even more ways to miss bats when an AAC foe is in the batter’s box.
On top of eliciting a multitude of swings and misses, he has limited run scoring extremely well, which is the main goal of any pitcher. His 2.02 ERA in league player is lower than any other pitcher on the team with more than two innings thrown. That includes Perez and his perfectly excellent 2.57 mark. What’s more, those starts aren’t going to waste, as Alldred is 4-0 in league play.
If the Bearcats were just getting the Alldred of the whole season, they’d be perfectly happy. He is 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 67 1⁄3 innings while striking out 72 and walking only 25 (although he has hit 11 batters). With his help, they are one of the best pitching teams in the conference thanks largely to a propensity for throwing strikes. The Bearcats have allowed the second-fewest walks in the conference and the third fewest hit batters. While keeping the ball in the zone has led to some hard contact and more hits than they may like, the Bearcats have a pretty solid 3.38 ERA.
Alldred can’t claim all the credit for those accolades, but fact that the Bearcats have gotten the leveled up version of the southpaw in increasingly critical games means he deserves a lot of it.