Former Tennessee Baseball pitcher Ben Joyce made his Major League Baseball debut on Monday night, and he did not disappoint.
Joyce, who was called up Sunday, entered the game with the Angels trying to hold onto a one-run lead over the White Sox. The righty did exactly would he did at Tennessee, light up the radar gun.
His debut came on the one-year anniversary of Tennessee baseball’s SEC Tournament Championship.
Joyce flashed 102 mph several times on his way to picking up a pair of strikeouts and pitching a scoreless frame. Other than an 89.3 mph cutter, Joyce’s slowest pitch was just over 100.
The 22-year-old helped Los Angeles secure a 6-4 victory over the White Sox on Monday night.
Ahead of his debut, Joyce told the Angel’s media what it meant for him to get called up.
“It means everything, it’s what I’ve been working for since I was three-years-old playing baseball, trying to dream of making it to the big leagues,” Joyce said. “And then finally hearing that call, it means everything. It’s all the hard work that you’ve put in is paying off.”
Joyce said his mom, dad, brother and girlfriend made the trip on a couple of last-minute flights to see his debut in Chicago. His family, coincidentally, was visiting him at the Rocket City Trash Pandas when he got called up to the Angels.
Joyce was a third-round pick to the Los Angeles Angels last year. He threw a fastball that topped out at 105.5 mph while playing in the Orange and White, picking up a lot of attention from the MLB. Joyce had a 2.23 ERA in 32.1 innings of work.
The Farragut High School product went to Walters State Community College before joining the Vols in 2020. Joyce underwent Tommy John Surgery the fall he joined Tennessee, forced to miss the 2021 season. In 2022, on arguably the most dominant Tennessee baseball team, Joyce was the closer.
Joyce’s twin brother, Zach, is currently playing for Tennessee. He has posted a 4.35 ERA out of the bullpen. Zach also underwent Tommy John Surgery, and has missed some time in 2023 due to scar tissue issues related to the procedure.