You may have heard the name Charles Hall quite a bit lately. The senior righty was named one of the nine pitchers in DII baseball you don’t want to face a few weeks back here on NCAA.com. This past Friday, he made sure you knew that, striking out 22 batters in a game for a new DII baseball record.
“I did not know about the DII record,” Hall told NCAA.com. “I knew about my school record of 17 because I had gotten 16 a few weeks earlier. I really wanted to break that. I knew about the fifth or sixth inning I was already at 15 and once I hit 18, I just started pitching.”
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It was no fluke. Hall leads DII baseball in strikeouts with 88 through his first seven starts. He’s struck out ten or more in his last six outings.
“It’s crazy,” Hall said. “I’ve probably thrown 80 percent curveball and slider in my starts. I’m just getting a ton of strikeouts because everybody is waiting on my fastball and they may see one or they may get zero.”
That wasn’t the case on Friday, Mar. 15 against Queens (NC). Hall was revving up his fastball, normally a high-80s offering, to 93-94, and locating it well. That just made his secondary stuff that much more dangerous.
“My slider was my best pitch that day,” Hall said. “But what set me up to be successful was my fastball. I was actually able to spot it up, which has been my downfall. I normally throw too many breaking pitches so they are just sitting on it. I had them guessing the whole night.”
🚨 RECORD BROKEN‼️ Tusculum's Charles Hall struck out 22 batters on Friday to set a new #D2Baseball single-game record.— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) March 16, 2019
The previous record of 21 was set in 1961 and it was tied four times with the last being in 1999.#MakeItYours
Breaking a long-time DII record, one which we thought was unbreakable last season, is rewarding enough. Hall, however, had the opportunity to pull this off against the Royals. Queens' head coach is MLB alum Jack McDowell, the 1993 American League Cy Young winner.
“It’s honestly amazing,” Hall said. “We were talking about it a few days before that their coach was a great MLB pitcher and a Cy Young Award winner. To do something like this in front of someone like that is pretty special.”
Tusculum has had some success the past few seasons pumping out professional pitchers. Devan Watts went to the Atlanta Braves organization after the 2016 season, and Placido Torres, whose school record Hall broke, was drafted by the New York Mets.
“Devan [Watts] was here before he went to Spring Training and I got to pick his mind on what it means to be a pitcher at the next level,” Hall said. “I didn’t know Placido [Torres], but he messaged me when I broke the record to say congratulations. It’s good to have a strong family-oriented team.”
It was a special night for Hall, and it was interesting to find out about that record-setting performance from the pitcher who threw it. However, we here at NCAA.com want to know the important stuff. We stepped off the mound with Hall and found out who the new DII King of the K really is.
Favorite baseball movie: Angels in the Outfield. It was a down team and a young kid that came in to save it.
Favorite pitcher: Oh, definitely Max Scherzer. I’m from the D.C. area. He just goes out there and dominates. He loves the game and gives so much passion to it.
Pregame ritual: I wear the same shirt every game under my other shirt I have to wear. That’s the only thing I keep the same.
Music that gets you ready: Everybody that knows me knows it’s Drake. We play it before the pregame when I go out to pitch.
Favorite candy: I’m not a chocolate guy, but I like sweets. I’d say Now and Later is my favorite.
Favorite part about playing DII baseball:
"It’s the opportunity. Where I was four years ago to where I am now is unbelievable.
"I went to JUCO and dropped out and just worked at home for a few years. Then all of a sudden, I got a revelation that I wanted to go back to school and play baseball. It was probably two weeks before the season, and coach told me he had a full roster. I told him I didn’t care and I was going to come throw a bullpen session. I threw it, and he had a big smile on his face and told me I could come play for his team. Ever since then, it’s been all uphill, and I’m just glad to be back playing the game I love."