Pitcher takes aim at wins
A year ago, Michael Goodnight stood tall — literally and figuratively — for the UH baseball team.
The 6-4 right-hander made the Conference USA All-Freshman Team after going 5-5 with 58 strikeouts in 65 innings. In the postseason he stood even taller, posting a season-high 8.1 innings and 10 strikeouts against UAB in the C-USA Tournament.
Now, as he prepares to make his 2010 debut against Texas State in the Cougars’ season opener Friday, Goodnight — who added an inch to his 225-pound frame in the offseason — has his sights on loftier goals.
“When I came in as a freshman my goal was to start on the weekend,” said Goodnight, a sports administration major. “Now, I am moving toward being a solid starter game-in and game-out, just going out there and trying to win every game I pitch.”
Goodnight grew up on the West Side of Houston, near Katy, where he attended Westside High School.
At Westside, Goodnight excelled in the football and baseball programs while playing on select baseball teams across the Houston area. He was named a first-team all-district baseball selection three times (2006-2008) and won District MVP in football in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
By the time Goodnight was a junior in high school, he knew the mound was where he belonged.
“Pitching was probably going to be the best opportunity for me,” Goodnight said.
Recruited by Mississippi and Texas Tech, his decision to play for UH was based on head coach Rayner Noble’s reputation.
“I just really wanted to learn from him,” Goodnight said. “Everybody told me he was a great pitching coach and had a history of developing first-round pitchers.”
Although he has developed a wide repertoire of pitches, he says he’s most comfortable with his fastball in pressure situations — especially when working with a full count.
“I have got the most confidence in it, and if you just put it where you want to, it’s going to be a good pitch,” Goodnight said.
Goodnight has found his home on the diamond, but there is more to him than fastballs and strikeouts. Off the field, Goodnight winds down, he said, by going golfing and playing video games.
“Basically, I like to do stuff to help you relax and have fun,” Goodnight said.
Goodnight has little time for relaxation these days, but that doesn’t seem to faze him. He enters this weekend with only one expectation.
“To sweep them,” he said.