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HUNTINGTON -- One of the premier pitchers in Kentucky committed to play baseball at Marshall University.

Bryce Blevins, a senior left-hander from Lawrence County High School, said he will sign with the Thundering Herd. Blevins committed to the University of Kentucky after his freshman season, but changed his mind. Marshall had recruited him his ninth-grade year, so he reached out to MU coach Jeff Waggoner, who extended an offer.

"I started a game at Boyd County my freshman year and Marshall showed up at that game and I had an offer," Blevins said. "UK just wasn't the right fit and I wanted to explore my options. Marshall is a place I can see myself succeeding."

Blevins is the nephew of former Marshall star pitcher Steve Blevins, a 21st-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. Blevins pitched three seasons in the Twins organization. Bryce Blevins said he worked with Steve, former Wayne High and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Tim Adkins, now a scout with the Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Loveland High coach Chuck Warden.

"I can still remember watching (Steve) pitch at (travel ball team) Cincinnati Midland, the University of Cincinnati and then Marshall," Bryce Blevins said of Steve.

A 6-foot, 195-pounder senior, Blevins is known for his quick arm and up-tempo delivery. His sharp-breaking curveball is an out pitch in the mid-70s. Blevins two-seam fastball has reached 89 mph with sink and run. He throws an effective changeup in the upper 70s.

Lighting up radar guns, though, isn't Blevins' priority. Throw not just strike, but quality strikes, is. That's evidenced by his eye-catching 91:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season. In 47 innings, he allowed 20 hits.

"I want to keep improving my command," Blevins said. "The better I can get with that, the velocity will come. I want to work on my mechanics and get better at everything I can."

Blevins went 8-0 with a 0.31 earned run average in the spring. He played summer ball with the prestigious Cincinnati Midland team. Blevins was the player of the year in Kentucky's 15th region and a first-team all-state selection.

Lawrence County coach Travis Feltner said Blevins is a strong competitor and a throwback kind of player.

"Great work ethic, great talent," Feltner said. "He's the most-fierce competitor I've coached."

Blevins, the oldest of six siblings, said he plans to major in physical therapy. 

Tim Stephens is a sports writer with The Herald-Dispatch.

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