Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Fayetteville native transferring to Arkansas from Wichita State
Fayetteville pitcher Miller Pleimann throws a pitch during a game against Van Buren on Monday, May 1, 2017, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Former Fayetteville High School pitcher Miller Pleimann is transferring to Arkansas after one season at Wichita State.
Pleimann, a 6-4, 190-pound right hander, will appeal for immediate eligibility at Arkansas after a coaching change at Wichita State. Pleimann said Todd Butler, his head head coach at Wichita State and a former Arkansas assistant coach from 2006-13, helped him through the transfer process.
If his appeal is denied, Pleimann would have to redshirt the 2020 season and would be eligible as a redshirt sophomore in 2021.
"If I'm able to get eligibility and get on the field this next year, then by all means I'm going to do it," Pleimann said. "That's my goal. I want to be able to come in and help out as soon as I can."
At Wichita State, Pleimann pitched in 16 games mostly as a reliever. He had a 6.41 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 13 walks in 19 1/3 innings with the Shockers. He recorded one save.
"I learned that college baseball is a whole different game," Pleimann said of his experience in Wichita.
Pleimann said he is intrigued by the innings up for grabs next season at Arkansas, which is expected to lose its top starter and three relievers to professional baseball.
"That's part of it, but also the fact that I just wanted to be a Hog," Pleimann said. "Coming back here is going to be one of the best decisions I've ever made in the long run.
"This place is hard to beat as a city. I really realized that once I was away for a year how special this place is. I'm just super happy to come back and play baseball in my hometown."
In high school, Pleimann played travel baseball for Perfect Timing and the Arkansas Sticks. Chase Brewster, the Sticks coach, said he was impressed with Pleimann's attitude.
"We had a meeting early about what their roles were, and he said, 'Coach, I'll do anything you need - relief, start - I'll do whatever to help the team,'" Brewster said. "You could tell that's who he was. He's a really good kid, good parents. You could tell he was just happy to be a part of something bigger than him and he was one of the better teammates we've had the past seven years, just doing anything we asked him to do."
Pleimann throws a four-seam fastball, a changeup and a slider. At Wichita State, his fastball was clocked between 87-92 mph and Brewster said the changeup was one of the best he has seen from a high school pitcher.
Pleimann committed to Wichita State prior to his junior season, but said he was also recruited by Arkansas in high school.
"They were very excited to hear that coming back here was a possibility," Pleimann said, "and I'm thankful for the chance they gave me."
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