KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Former Tennessee pitcher and Knoxville native Ben Joyce brought his high-powered fastball to the Los Angeles Angels in his Major League Baseball debut on Monday.
The relief pitcher from Farragut High School was called from the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas on Sunday ahead of Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. He entered the game in the seventh inning with the Angels holding a 4-3 lead.
Joyce recorded a scoreless inning in relief in his debut, giving up one hit and recording two strikeouts. The Angels went on to win the game 6-4.
Known as “The Volunteer Fireman” on Rocky Top for his blistering fastball, wowed fans with several high-velocity pitches on Monday. His first strikeout came on a 102 MPH pitch.
In his final year at Tennessee, Joyce tossed the fastest pitch in recorded college baseball history against Auburn with a 105.5 MPH heater. It was not far off of the MLB record, which belongs to Aroldis Chapman and his 105.8 MPH pitch in 2010.
He was selected 89th overall in the third round of the 2022 MLB Draft after he was named a Third Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. His younger brother, Zach, returned to the Tennessee baseball program in 2023 after two years away from the team.