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WVU Alumnus Alek Manoah Gets ‘3 Punchies’ in All-Star Debut

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WVU alumnus Alek Manoah struck out three hitters in his All-Star game debut. Manoah was mic’d up by Fox while he was on the mound during the exhibition, and provided some entertainment by celebrating each of his three strikeouts.

The first hitter that Manoah sent down was the Atlanta Braves catcher William Contreras, younger brother of Willson from the Chicago Cubs. After asking the booth how fast he was throwing, he hovered around 95 mph during his inning, he struck out Conteras and yelled “Here we go, that’s one!”

Manoah continued counting his strikeouts out loud after striking out the next batter, San Francisco Giants’ outfielder Joc Pederson. He shouted, “Here we go, that’s two!”

He then faced New York Mets second basemen Jeff McNeil and told him not to flinch while he threw a running fastball inside. He asked current Fox broadcaster and Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz what to throw, and he said to throw a back-door slider. Manoah missed his mark and hit McNeil on the foot.

He then faced Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who was coming off an appearance in the MLB Home Run Derby. Manoah struck out Acuna for the final out and shouted, “Right down the middle, but we’ll take it! Three punchies! Whoo! That’s a hell of a bullpen right there.”

Manoah was selected to the All-Star game in the midst of a great season for the starter. In his second full season, Manoah is 10-4 with a 2.28 ERA and 103 strikeouts across 18 starts and 114.2 innings.

Manoah debuted last season and performed well across 20 starts and 111.2 innings. He finished 2021 eighth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting due to a 9-2 record, 3.22 ERA and 127 strikeouts. He did lead last year in hits batsman with 16, and currently leads that category again this year with nine, but clearly has earned his all-star nod this season.

Manoah joined the Blue Jays as the 11th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft after three seasons at WVU. In his collegiate career, he had a 13-10 record with a 2.81 ERA and 249 strikeouts across 218.0 innings.

He was Big 12 pitcher of the year his final season with WVU, compiling a 9-4 record, 2.08 ERA and 144 strikeouts across 16 starts and 108.1 innings.

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