As 2020 comes to a close, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest stories of the year in Duke athletics. Each day, we will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year for the Blue Devils. Check out the rest of the top 10 here.
Coming in at No. 4: Bryce Jarvis throws the first perfect game in Duke baseball history, and follows it up by becoming the highest-drafted Blue Devil ever in the MLB Draft.
Every once in a while, the universe and the baseball gods align in a harmonious fashion to produce something of sheer beauty: a perfect game.
When 2020 began, only 17 NCAA pitchers had ever pitched a nine-inning perfect game. But on Feb. 21, Bryce Jarvis became the first Blue Devil to add his name to that list. And by June, he improved his draft stock enough for the Arizona Diamondbacks to select him with the 18th overall pick in the MLB Draft, making him the highest draft pick in Duke baseball history.
To really understand the magnitude of Jarvis’ impressive 2020 campaign, however, you have to know where he was a year before he cemented his name into the Duke record books.
In the spring of 2019, Jarvis was the second-best starting pitcher at a school far more well-known for basketball than baseball. After a strong showing in the NCAA tournament in May and June, Jarvis caught the attention of MLB general managers, but only as a 37th-round draft pick. So, he returned to Durham.
What happened between the time his sophomore season ended and the day he heard his name called in the first round of the MLB Draft can only be described as extraordinary.
Jarvis went to the Driveline Baseball player development program in the offseason to focus on pitch shaping, deciding to add a curveball into his then-three-pitch arsenal as well. The offseason dedication seemed to work—once the 2020 season began, the Tennessee native's draft stock soared to new highs, and never came back down.
Jarvis followed up his perfect game with two consecutive seven-inning outings, only giving up one total run between them. By the end of the shortened 2020 season, he had posted a 3-1 record and 0.67 ERA across four starts.
Chatter of Jarvis being a first-round draft pick quickly surfaced after the perfect game, and he only strengthened his case every time he stepped on the mound. Then, the glorious culmination of it all came June 10, as he joined Marcus Stroman as the only Blue Devils ever to be drafted in the first round.
Jarvis is yet to make an appearance in the Big Leagues, but that’s expected considering he was a college baseball player just nine months ago. With his seasoned arm and understanding of the mechanics of pitching, Jarvis is projected to be on the fastrack to the MLB.
READ MORE on Bryce Jarvis’ historic year:
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