Most great days don’t begin with surprise, 2 a.m. wake up calls, and most pitchers would like to forget outings in which they allow two runs on five hits over 3 1/3 innings. But Wednesday was a great day for Nationals rookie right-hander Taylor Hill and he won’t soon forget it.
Hill, the Nationals’ sixth-round pick in 2011, caught a 6:20 a.m. flight out of Syracuse, where he had been dominating for the Class AAA Chiefs this season. After making a connection in Detroit, Hill arrived in Milwaukee as a much-needed insurance arm for the Nationals’ bullpen, which was spent after a 16-inning game the night before.
Stephen Strasburg couldn’t get out of the fifth inning and manager Matt Williams called upon Hill, who got some A-plus teasing from bullpen mate Tyler Clippard before making his major league debut.
“It was something I’ll never forget,” Hill said. “It was awesome. Just pitching in front of that crowd and being able to do that was something special. I’ll never forget.”
The same way Hill received the news of his call-up at 2 a.m. that morning and rushed to Milwaukee, Hill’s parents did the same. They tried to find a flight from Nashville to Milwaukee but couldn’t. So they flew into Chicago and drove to Milwaukee in time to see Hill pitch. They may not have seen Hill’s first pitch, but they at least saw their son make his debut. Hill saw them after the game, a huge grin across his face when he spoke with reporters.
“I think they tried to hold it together for me but I think they were a mess earlier on,” he said. “It was cool. I hadn’t seen them in a couple months. That was cool.”
Hill’s great day wasn’t over, though. On Wednesday night, the former Vanderbilt star’s alma mater beat Virginia, 3-2, to capture its first College World Series title in school history.
Thanks everyone for the support! What an unforgettable experience. Now it’s time for the dores to bring it home tonight! — TaylorHill (@TaylorHill) June 25, 2014
Lets gooooo!! What a day! Go dores!!!!!!!! Brought it home!! — TaylorHill (@TaylorHill) June 26, 2014
— TaylorHill (@TaylorHill) June 26, 2014
Thanks to @dcuniverse for the Vine.