Solis makes a splash at Invitational

Solis makes a splash at Invitational

COMPTON, Calif. -- With all the talk about San Diego State's top prospect, Stephen Strasburg, at the Urban Invitational college baseball tournament, the University of San Diego and left-hander Sammy Solis decided to make a splash of their own on Friday.

Solis followed Strasburg's dominating, 11-strikeout performance with a gem of his own, striking out a career-high nine batters in six-plus innings in San Diego's 6-4 win over Southern University in the second annual Urban Invitational at MLB's Urban Youth Academy.

"I felt strong, and everything was working, so it was nice to have one of those nights," said the 6-foot-5 Solis. "It's the first game, with a little pressure and all that, but it worked out well."

It was Game 2 of the Academy's five-game tournament, which spotlights such Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as Southern and Bethune-Cookman.

The two San Diego schools used dominating pitching performances to win the first two games of the tournament.

It was Solis who was the star in the second game, as he allowed just four hits and one run over six-plus innings against the Jaguars.

"Sammy was dominating," San Diego head coach Rich Hill said. "Their coach came to me and told me, 'I like that guy better than Strasburg because he can do more things with that dead-fish changeup, and he can throw that curveball for a strike.' He's a special kid."

And though Solis was pleased to be compared with Strasburg, the sophomore was also humble about it as well.

"That's quite a compliment, to compare with me with Strasburg," Solis said. "He's Strasburg. I mean, he pitched in the Olympics. But maybe someday."

But Southern coach Roger Cador insisted after the game that Solis has a Major League arm.

"We were overmatched by that kid," Cador said. "He's big league. I loved the lefty. I think he's got a chance to do some real big things. There's no way we face a better pitcher than him all year."

Solis lasted until the seventh inning but was relieved with a runner on first base. Reliever Matt Hauser allowed the inherited runner to score.

Hauser struggled in the inning, allowing three runs to score, although two of the runs were unearned because of an error.

The Toreros, who are ranked No. 11 by Baseball America, jumped on the Jaguars early, scoring four runs in the first inning, including a two-run double by third baseman Tony Strazzarra.

San Diego added a run in the second on an RBI single by Sean Nicol, who also drove in a run in the first inning.

That forced Southern starter Kyle Wahl out of the game early. The right-hander allowed five runs on four hits and couldn't retire a batter in the second inning.

Wahl was removed for right-hander James Spear, who allowed just one run over six innings of relief work.

"If I had to do it all over again, I would've started Spear, but Wahl had done well for us," Cador said. "He just wanted to overthrow because it was the first game."

The Jaguars threatened, with the tying runs onboard in the ninth, but the Toreros and A.J. Griffin got out of the jam unscathed to preserve the win.

The game concluded the first day of the Urban Invitational, which is set to resume on Saturday, with San Diego playing Bethune-Cookman at 2 p.m. PT and San Diego State playing Southern at 6 p.m. The event will also host a college fair and a battle of the bands on Saturday.

"It's great," Hill said. "It's like a Regional setting, because all four teams are projected to make the [NCAA] Regionals. It's a really fun atmosphere."

Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.