Baltimore Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz smiled as he recalled what it was like pitching to Andre Ethier on Saturday.
“It didn’t hit me until the at-bat was over,” Matusz said.
Ethier’s at-bat in the seventh inning of series opener marked the first time the two graduates of St. Mary’s High in Phoenix faced each other. With two on, Matusz struck out Ethier to keep the score tied, 5-5. The Orioles went on to win, 7-5.
By the time Matusz enrolled at the Arizona high school, Andre Ethier had graduated. But Matusz used to frequently see Ethier, who graduated in 2000. When Ethier was at Arizona State, he used to drop by his alma mater to take batting practice.
When Ethier broke into the major leagues in 2006, Matusz was at the University of San Diego.
“Every time the Dodgers came into town, I’d go to the Padres games,” Matusz said. “A few times, he got me tickets. We went to dinner a few times. It was cool. I just loved picking his brain, what it was like to be in the big leagues. Knowing he made the big leagues from such a small high school, it gave me hope.”
Matusz was selected with the fourth overall pick of the 2008 draft. He reached the majors a year later.