BY STEVE KRAH
Nick Floyd was a dependable pitching option for the Ball State University baseball team.
Especially his last two seasons, the right-hander was able to throw all his pitches for strikes and was often able to put out the fire.
As a senior, he was named to the all-Mid-American Conference first team. He made 24 mound appearances (19 in relief) in the spring of 2019 and went 7-0 with five saves and a 2.19 earned run average. In 56 1/3 innings, Floyd used his two-seam fastball, four-seam fastball, curveball, slider and change-up to amass 55 strikeouts and 18 walks. He fanned a single-game career-high eight batters May 10 against Ohio University.
Floyd was 5-1 in 22 games with 48 strikeouts and 17 walks in 49 2/3 innings as a junior. For his BSU career, the Jimtown High School graduate was 14-3 with six saves, a 3.47 ERA, 131 K’s and 81 walks in 158 innings.
The Elkhart, Ind., native has taken those qualities with him into professional ball on the staff of the independent American Association‘s Gary (Ind.) SouthShore RailCats. He signed June 15 with Gary, where Greg Tagert is the manager and Alain Quijano the pitching coach, and made his debut June 16. He pitched the first two innings and retired all six St. Paul Saints batters he faced with two strikeouts.
“Consistency is the main thing for me,” says Floyd, 22. “I finally put it together at the end of my college career.
“My goal is summer is to keep working out to get stronger and keep competing. The only way to get better is the compete. I want to carry over my success against college hitters to pro hitters.”
Floyd’s change-up has arm-side sink and been known to devastate right-handed batters.
“When I throw it right I can get a lot of movement on it,” says Floyd. “It’s my go-to pitch.
“I’ve always thrown a change-up. But it got good during my college career.”
Ball State pitching coach Dustin Glant helped Floyd adjust his grip on the pitch which he throws like his fastball.
“It’s almost like a screwball,” says Glant. “He caught the spin axis just right. He can throw the change-up to both righties and lefties.”
Glant got to work with Floyd for his last three seasons with the Cardinals.
“I watched him progress as a pitcher and as a young man with his maturity and competitiveness,” says Glant.
Floyd says Glant has all his pitchers taking on a mentality and attitude of confidence.
“You know you’re better than the hitter and you’re going to get them out every single time,” says Floyd.
That competitive fire was especially evident in Drey Jameson, who was an All-American and the MAC Pitcher of the Year and selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
“We saw that and fed off that,” says Floyd, speaking for the rest of the BSU mound crew.
Glant saw Floyd morph into a relief role and embrace it.
“It’s give me the ball late and I’ll win this game for you,” says Glant. “He has ice water in his veins.
“His stuff got better and he became aggressive on the mound.”
Floyd has found comfort in chaos.
“I like getting thrown right into the fire,” says Floyd. “Adrenaline kicks in right away.”
Floyd admires Ball State head coach Rich Maloney.
“He cares about all his players — on and off the field,” says Floyd. “He’s steady. He’s got a lot of years of experience.”
While earning a degree in Finance this spring, Floyd made his third straight all-MAC academic team.
“I’m really good with numbers,” says Floyd, who carried a 3.39 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale during the spring semester.
He is now learning to adjust to pro ball with its long road trips and individualized training.
“There’s no school,” says Floyd. “For the first time, I can solely focus on baseball day in and day out.”
Floyd played three sports at Jimtown — four years varsity in baseball, three in basketball and two in tennis. His head baseball coach was Darin Mast. He gave up tennis after his sophomore year to play fall baseball.
The only child of Mill and Diana Floyd, Nick says he was fortunate that both parents could attend his games as he grew up while other families had to divide and conquer to follow their children.
Nick started at Baugo Little League in Elkhart. In his 11U summer, he began to play travel ball and was with the South Bend Predators, Michiana Clippers and Indiana Bearcats before landing with the Indiana Chargers during his high school years.
“That’s where I really got college contact,” says Floyd of the Chargers.
Nick Floyd made his professional baseball debut June 16, 2019 with the Gary SouthShore RailCats. (Gary SouthShore RailCats/Adrien Hall Photo)
Nick Floyd, a graduate of Jimtown High School and Ball State University retired all six Saint Paul Saints batters he faced June 16 at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind. It was his pro baseball debut. (Gary SouthShore RailCats/Adrien Hall Photo)
Nick Floyd, a Jimtown High School graduate, pitched for Ball State University from 2016-19. (Ball State University Photo)