Orlando Razo hadn’t pitched at Stanford since he was a pupil of the great Cardinal pitching coach Tom Dunton.
Well, he kind of pitched at Stanford.
“I used to get pitching lessons in the away bullpen,” Razo said. “That’s about as close as I got.”
A year removed from posting a 9-2 record as the ace starter of Serra’s pitching staff, Razo got to take the game mound at Sunken Diamond Tuesday. The UC Davis freshman was brilliant in his homecoming, firing 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. While Stanford ultimately won 7-6, Razo entered with the Aggies trailing 4-3 and pitched his team back into it. Davis scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh and Razo departed with a 7-4 lead. He took a no-decision as the Cardinal rallied for three runs in the eighth to win it.
Still, getting to pitch in front family and friends that numbered 15 guests was a thrill for the freshman southpaw.
“It felt awesome, honestly,” Razo said. “My parents are big baseball fans in general. They love watching me pitch but they just love watching the game of baseball. … They come to pretty much every game anyway, but my brother was there who doesn’t always get to see me pitch, and then a bunch of family and friends that went. So, it was nice to know that I have a big supporting cast. That was awesome.”
Razo has been fairly awesome as well as the freshman has helped solidify the backend of the UC Davis bullpen. The Aggies feature a trio of relievers with Razo and Raul Jacobson setting up for the Big West’s second best saves leader in freshman closer Zach Stone.
Through 12 appearances, Razo has posted a 1-2 record with a 1.64 ERA. His appearance at Sunken Diamond was his third straight Tuesday appearance in long relief. But while he’s been thrown into the competitive fire as a weekend setup man, the goal is still to crack the starting rotation.
“I hope to one day eventually start,” Razo said. “But right now it’s just doing whatever I can. And that’s what the mindset is always going to be whether I’m starting or relieving.”
After graduating from Serra, Razo refined his relief chops as the closer of the Pacific Union Financial Capitalists — aka the Caps — out of Walnut Creek. Playing over 40 games last summer, along with former Serra teammate Matt Gorgolinski, Razo paced the team in saves, including finishing the season on the mound with a save in the final game against the Utah Marshalls in the Phil Singer Summer Series in San Diego.
“I had one start then closed pretty much the whole summer,” Razo said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Before emerging as an All-West Catholic Athletic League second-team pitcher in 2013, Razo had the time of his life working with Dunton. Stanford’s former pitching coach of 16 years worked with Razo since the lefty was in middle school then all through high school.
“He was awesome,” Razo said. “He coached Mike Mussina … and all the great Stanford pitchers.”