Former UNC baseball star Matt Harvey delivered a dazzling pitching performance for the New York Mets in his Major League debut Thursday at Arizona.
A 24-year-old right-hander who was the Mets’ top draft pick in 2010, the 6-foor-4, 220-pounder struck out 11 Diamondbacks and gave up only three hits during 5.1 innings in a 3-1 win. He walked three.
Not only that, Harvey went 2-for-2 with a double at bat, meaning he’s batting a thousand and pitching a thousand in the bigs.
Harvey told the Associated Press that it was difficult to believe he was actually in the Majors.
''When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in,'' Harvey said. ''At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance.''
Harvey became first pitcher since 1900 to strike out more than 10 and collect a pair of hits in his first game and the first Mets pitcher to get a pair of hits in his debut since David West in 1988.
Harvey threw 106 pitches and 65 were for strikes.
''He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him,'' said Mets manager Terry Collins in the AP game report. ''Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat.''
Before Thursday, Harvey had a 7-4 record and a 3.30 earned run average for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
A native of Connecticut, Harvey went 22-7 with a 3.73 ERA in his three seasons with the Tar Heels.
Harvey gives UNC eight active players on MLB rosters with pitcher Daniel Bard likely to rejoin Boston in a few days.