Former Trojan Williamson throws in front of several fans in 4-3 win
DES MOINES – Louisville’s Brandon Williamson pitched in the state of Iowa for the first time since the 2018 season on Thursday.
Williamson, who pitched for NIACC in 2017-18, took a no-decision in the Bats’ come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Iowa Cubs on a steamy afternoon at Principal Park. Pitching in front of several friends and family, Williamson allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and five walks in five innings of work.
“It was basically a home game,” Williamson said after Thursday’s game while taking pictures and signing autographs for several of his fans that were in attendance. “I think we had more fans here than the Cubs did.
“It’s definitely the closest I’ve played to home (as a professional). It was awesome seeing how many people came out.”
Before attending NIACC, Williamson attended Martin County West High School in Sherburn, Minn.
Williamson, a 6-foot-6 inch, 210-pound left-hander, pitched three straight scoreless innings before allowing two runs in the fourth inning. He then tossed a scoreless fifth inning before leaving the game with it knotted at 2-2.
“You definitely don’t want to get shelled in the first wtih a bunch of people driving all the way down here,” Williamson said. “After the first inning, I settled in.”
Williamson, who was a second-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 2019 draft, said he was pleased with his outing on Thursday.
“The walks were up but I’ve been dealing with that,” he said. “They didn’t hit the ball hard once. I just kind of got unlucky. I felt I made good pitches.”
And the Bats won the game with a two-run home run from Spencer Steer in the top of the ninth inning.
“Steer hit an absolute tank to win it,” Williamson said, “so that was awesome.”
Northern Iowa coach Mark Farley says the Panthers have consistency in practice as they get ready for the new football season. UNI is using a new outdoor facility that has an artificial surface and stadium lights. As a multi-purpose facility the UNI-Dome is often unavailable.
“We practiced at Cedar Valley SportsPlex the covid year and we had to practice at Waterloo West High School because of construction”, said Farley. “For the past two seasons we really have not practiced on a football field at our facility.”
The Panthers are also utilizing a new team meeting room.
“We are excited because we can practice and get prepared like we used to”, added Farley.
The Panthers are coming off a 6-6 season that included a first round loss in the FCS playoffs at Eastern Washington. UNI opens the season September third at Air Force.