Four days after he was called up to the big leagues, former UCSB star Dillon Tate finally got on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
The right-hander entered the game in San Diego in the bottom of the seventh, hitting the Padres’ Greg Garcia with a pitch, surrendering an infield hit to Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer followed with a three-run blast (his second of the game).
But Tate would calm down after that, striking out the next two batters. He’d add a strikeout in a scoreless eighth inning.
“He’s been an all-conference closer, so he knows how to have a short-term memory,” said UCSB skipper Andrew Checketts, who attended the game while on the recruiting trail in San Diego. “Some guys struggle to convert to a reliever when they get into pro ball, but he knows how to do that from his time with us.”
Tate threw 25 strikes in his 41 pitches, exiting the game with a 13.50 ERA.
Baltimore lost the game, 8-1, behind 5-1 when Tate entered the game.
The Clermont native has bounced back and forth from starter to reliever since being drafted fourth overall by the Texas Rangers in 2015.
In his third organization in four years in professional baseball, he started the 2019 campaign as a starter, but had a pair of rough starts with the Double-A Bowie Baysox to begin the year and was moved back to the bullpen.
He was roughed up in his first four appearances there as well, but has since only given up two runs in 11 outings, posting a 1.45 ERA with five saves.
He has 24 strikeouts in 27 innings with the Baysox.
“I wouldn’t change anything,” Tate told the Tribune News Service.
“I’ve seen a lot. Learned a lot. I grew as a person, so I don’t think I would’ve wanted it to be any other way.”
He currently sits on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, with the organization protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft during the offseason.
“His next outing, he’ll show what he learned and do even better,” Checketts said. “Hopefully he’ll get a chance to show what he has and earn a spot on the team.”
Alongside Shane Bieber (Indians), Greg Mahle (Angels) and Andrew Vasquez (Twins), Tate makes it four pitchers from the 2014 staff that have pitched in the big leagues.
“With Shane, it’s been great marketing for us,” Checketts said. “But having all these guys, they are representing us so well.”