COLUMBIA, SC - Columbia reliever Matt Blackham was named the South Atlantic League-BC® Relief Pitcher of the Month for August, SAL President Eric Krupa announced. This is the second straight month the 24-year-old has garnered the award.
"Matt has electric stuff and has been able to stay healthy and consistent the entire year," Fireflies manager Jose Leger said. "It's great to have an arm in your bullpen that you can always count on late in games. Happy for him to be named the relief pitcher of the month again. Well deserved."
Blackham was lights out on the mound in 11 bullpen appearances for the Fireflies in August. He did not allow a run in 10.2 innings and picked up six saves. His success stretches further than just the past month. The Kansas native has not surrendered an earned run since June 27 (25.2 consecutive innings).
The Mets farmhand holds a stellar 1.46 ERA in 39 outings this season for Columbia. Blackham leads all Fireflies' relievers with 80 strikeouts. He also has the highest strikeout per nine innings pitched ratio (12.9) in the South Atlantic League. This success follows a challenging 2016 campaign. The right-hander missed all last year due to injury.
"I feel like I've matured over the course of this season," Blackham explained. "Even at the beginning of this year, I honestly didn't know what I was doing. You miss time playing, you feel like a lost puppy out there sometimes. At first, it's just remembering how to throw again and compete again. Once you start getting into a groove, then you go out there and do what you know how to do."
Blackham has been a key contributor to an incredible bullpen in the Midlands. Columbia relievers have a 2.74 ERA in more than 415 innings pitched this season. This group features two all-stars, Max Kuhns and Adonis Uceta, who combined for 16 saves. Adam Atkins was also terrific with a 0.86 ERA in 23 appearances.
The South Atlantic League-BC® Relief Pitcher of the Month award is sponsored by BC® Powder, the "Preferred Pain Reliever of the South Atlantic League." The award is given to the most outstanding relief pitcher in the league for the prior month.
About the Columbia Fireflies
The Columbia Fireflies are the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. Winners of Ballpark Digest's Best New Branding and Logo Award in 2016, the Fireflies play games across the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including against in-state rivals in Charleston and Greenville. The team partnered with the city of Columbia and Hughes Development to construct Spirit Communications Park, a multi-use outdoor sports and entertainment venue at the center of the BullStreet development. The Columbia Fireflies are owned by Hardball Capital, owners of the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League and the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League. For more information, visit ColumbiaFireflies.com, or follow the Fireflies on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
More about BC® Powder
BC® Powder is the "Preferred Pain Reliever of the South Atlantic League". In 1906, Germain Bernard and C.T. Council formulated a new, effective pain reliever at their pharmacy in Durham, NC. BC® Powder fast developed a very loyal customer following of hardworking Americans who needed reprieve from their toughest aches and pains. Over 100 years and millions of family and friends later, BC® Powder is still bringing speedy relief and showing pain who's boss. Whether you've got a headache, back ache or minor arthritis pain, BC® relieves your tough pain at the speed of powder.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.