About a year ago, toward the end of a long junior season, Tyler Murrah noticed his pitching arm was feeling tired.
Doctors told the Jesuit lefthander he needed surgery to repair an ulnar nerve injury near the elbow. After undergoing the procedure in August, followed by several weeks of rest, he wasn’t sure how his arm would respond.
“I am pleasantly surprised that I’ve been throwing as well as I have after the surgery,” Murrah said. “It’s like I’ve got a whole new arm.”
His numbers back up that claim. Murrah has seen his velocity increase and has emerged as the staff ace for the Rangers this season, becoming the latest dominant lefthander at the school. Essentially, he’s filling the same role as Kyle Muller, who was a second-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2016, and Jacob Palisch, who is one of Stanford’s top bullpen arms.
“He’s throwing real well. He’s a competitor,” said Jesuit head coach Brian Jones. “He came back and had his sights set on being a leader, and he’s done that.”
Expectations for Murrah were high after he posted a 1.75 earned-run average in 10 appearances (including seven starts) last season.
“I definitely wanted to be the No. 1 that our coaches and my teammates rely on,” Murrah said. “I’ve just put my focus on getting first-pitch strikes. I know I need to get people out quickly in order to keep my pitch count low.”
Fortunately for the Rangers, the surgery hasn’t been a deterrent. Murrah has thrown more than 100 pitches in multiple starts this spring, struck out 12 in his season debut against Lake Dallas, and even tossed a no-hitter during a February tournament game against Bishop Lynch.
“It felt a lot looser. I had never thrown it by people like that,” he said. “That was the game to do it.”
He has also been one of the team’s top hitters in limited at-bats, typically playing center field or first base in games when he doesn’t pitch.
Murrah, who was a sophomore when the Rangers won the Class 6A state title in 2016, hopes to lead Jesuit on another deep playoff run this year — both with his bat and his arm.
“I love our team this year. We have a ton of chemistry,” Murrah said. “Everybody plays a part. We just find a way to win ballgames.”