The MLB playoffs began Tuesday with Game 1 of the best-of-three wild card series. In one of the National League series’ a former Virginia Tech pitcher picked up a win in relief to help his team grab an early 1-0 series lead.
Joe Mantiply earned a win in relief for the Arizona Diamondbacks
It was just two-thirds of an inning and only 14 pitches, but Joe Mantiply recorded two outs and walked one, however, it was good enough to allow his team to rally for a 6-3 victory. Mantiply came in relief for Brandon Pfaadt who lasted just 2.2 innings allowing seven hits, three runs, and walking one while striking out four.
In the postseason, managers won’t allow a pitcher to figure it out early in a game and Diamondbacks manager Tory Lovello showed that with the quick hook. Mantiply came in and held it down until Gabriel Moreno’s solo home run to center field gave Arizona the lead for good at 4-3.
Mantiply was the first arm called out of the bullpen in Game 1 and he set the tone by settling things down and allowing the rest of his bullpen teammates to string together six scoreless innings to jump ahead in the series.
Mantiply was drafted three times before he signed his major league contract. He was drafted in the 48th round of the 2009 Draft by the New York Mets but chose to attend Virginia Tech. He was drafted again in 2012 by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 28th round, before returning to college for his senior year. He was drafted one more time by the Detroit Tigers in the 27th round in 2013.
While at Virginia Tech, Mantiply went 16-15 with a 3.61 ERA, and his best season was his last one going 6-1 with a 2.85 ERA. Just over a decade later, he’s gone from Blacksburg to a winning pitcher in an NL wild-card game in Milwaukee for Arizona.