Before the season began, Friday's key Mountain West game in Las Vegas between San Diego State and UNLV was likely circled on more than a few scouts' calendars. The game and series remain an enticing matchup, though the expected pitchers' duel between San Diego State's Michael Cederoth and UNLV's Eric Fedde won't materialize.
Fedde, ranked No. 22 on MLB.com's Top 50 Draft Prospects list, has been one of the best pitchers in the country and enters the game 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 34 innings. Cederoth, however, moved to the closer's role after just one start. He has flourished in the bullpen, where he has a 1.84 ERA and seven saves in 10 appearances.
Cederoth, ranked No. 27 on the Top 50, said he understood why the change was made and thinks it will benefit him as he prepares for his professional career.
"It was an honor to be the Friday starter for SDSU," Cederoth said. "But once I sat down and talked to the coaches, deep down, I knew I was going to be out of the bullpen [as a professional] in the future. The conversation I had with the coaches to get prepared for it was really good."
Cederoth's best pitch is his fastball, which routinely reaches the upper-90s, and his sharp slider gives him a second plus pitch. He said the transition to his new role has been easy, in part because he thinks his mindset is better suited to the bullpen.
"Now, I can just let it all out for the game and go back and do it again the next night," Cederoth said. "I'm a pretty emotional guy. To me, that's what a closer needs -- that kind of mentality to give it all he's got and do it multiple games in a row."
Though Cederoth won't be matched up against Fedde on Friday night, he did pitch against him three times last year. He said the Aztecs know they're in for a tough game Friday.
"He bloomed last year, killed it over the summer, and he's doing exactly what was expected from his this year," Cederoth said. "I expect he's going to bring his 'A' game, so we're going to bring our best, too."