Former Blue Springs pitcher Tepesch wins debut with Rangers

04/10/2013 2:09 PM

05/20/2014 10:42 AM

How’d things go for Blue Springs High School graduate Nick Tepesch in his major-league debut Tuesday?

All you need to know is that Tepesch got a whip-cream pie to the face after the Rangers beat the Rays 6-1 in Arlington, Texas.

That’s

always

a good sign.

Tepesch allowed just one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings and got the victory. He had 27 family and friends on hand for the game.

“It’s pretty special,” Tepesch told Fox Sports Southwest. “I’m glad they could make it and it’s unbelievable.”

Tepesch, 24, ran into trouble in the second inning when he walked the bases full, but he struck out the Rays’ Kelly Johnson to end the threat.

After that, Tepesch settled in and retired 12 straight at one point. He was just the fifth pitcher in Rangers history go at least seven innings and allow just one run or less in his debut.

“He got sharper, command-wise,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon told reporters. “He was more free with his off-speed stuff, and he was throwing it for strikes. He’s got a nice delivery. He’s got velocity. He’s got other pitches that he commands. That’s something they’ve got to be excited about.”

Tepesch, 6-feet-4 and 225 pounds, was chosen in the 14th round of the 2010 draft by the Rangers. He had been picked in the 28th round by the Red Sox in the 2007 draft, but opted to go the Missouri where he was picked by the Rangers.

In 2011, Tepesch went 7-5 with a 4.03 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 138 1/3 innings at Class A Hickory. Last year, he started the season at high-Class A Myrtle Beach, where he was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA. He was promoted to Class AA Frisco and was 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA.

Tepesch had a great spring and surprised many by getting the fifth spot in the Rangers rotation. Because of off days in the schedule, he made one start at Class AAA Round Rock and won by pitching five shutout innings.

And on Tuesday, Tepesch won his first start in the majors, which got him a whip-cream pie from Elvis Andrus and the respect of his manager, Ron Washington.

“Tremendous make-up, trusts his stuff, knows what he’s capable of doing,” Washington told reporters. “He never gets outside of himself. Those are the traits we saw in spring training.”

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