Texas A&M U. pitcher quietly drawing attention from the pros

By Brad Cox

“Actions speak louder than words” is an adequate description of Texas A&M U. pitcher Barret Loux.

The often-quiet Houston native is a dominating performer on the mound, opting more toward doing his job than putting on a show.

“It’s something I’ve kind of embraced,” Loux said about his quiet demeanor. “I wouldn’t say I’m very emotional. Compared to before I got here, I’d say I’m more emotional than I used to be.”

Maybe a little fist pump after a strikeout, of which Loux has many, or a gritting of his teeth after giving up a home run, of which he has few, is about as far as the 6-feet, 5-inch tall junior will go.

But it’s not his emotions that have been turning heads around the Big 12, it’s his numbers.

Leading the conference with 64 strikeouts, Loux sometimes pitches more like former Houston Astros and Texas Rangers great Nolan Ryan than fellow Texas native Greg Maddux.

He averages slightly more than nine strikeouts per start, has a strikeout to walk ratio of 4.92 and has an opponent batting average of .192, making Loux one of the premier pitchers in the Big 12.

Against U. Missouri on March 26 at Olsen Field, Loux was his usual self, striking out 11 Tiger batters in seven innings of work and allowing just one run on three hits.

“That was about as good of pitching against us that I’ve seen in awhile,” Missouri Head Coach Tim Jamieson said. “Our hitters battled and competed, but we were just overmatched tonight.”

Kansas Jayhawks starter T.J. Walz, who had one of his better starts of the season with eight strikeouts against A&M, said the hitters made the difference in the 5-2 win.

“That guy is an unbelievable pitcher,” Walz said. “To do that against him is great.”

Though he hears compliments from fans, opposing teams and professional scouts, Loux takes them in stride.

“I’m just focused on pitching out here,” he said. “When you start to worry about other things you can’t control, bad things might happen.”

What Loux and many Aggie fans are aware of is his impending eligibility for the MLB Amateur Draft. As a junior, Loux will be eligible for the draft in June after playing the requisite three years for NCAA players.

Some scouts are salivating over his 1.98 ERA and 64 strikeouts. Loux was projected by some media outlets as being drafted in the first few rounds.

The one thing stopping him from being in the national spotlight is his pitch count. Being a strikeout pitcher, Loux’s pitch count is often more than 100, which could lead to shorter outings and a tired arm.

But while averaging more than 105 pitches per start and 18 pitches per inning, Loux has said his arm felt fine after one of his longer outings. It’s also a part of his game he’s trying to improve.

“It’s nice to have strikeouts but it’s nice when guys put some balls in play and get your pitch count down,” Loux said. “It’s something I struggle with a little bit, but we’re working on that and our defense is starting to come around and play really well.”

In true Nolan Ryan style, Loux’s favorite pitch is his fastball. He said his curveball and cut fastball have improved this season and his changeup is stable.

Cheering on that fastball is Loux’s parents, Debbie and Steve, who can often be found in their second-deck seats at every A&M game.

Being from Houston, playing baseball for A&M was a unique opportunity that allowed him to be close to home and have his parents see all of his starts.

“It’s really nice to just get some food from home sometimes,” he said. “It’s always nice to have that cooler waiting in their car.”

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