For Wacha brothers, winning runs in the family
Younger sibling Lucas leads Wyoming to football victory on day of Michael's triumph
ST. LOUIS -- Michael Wacha's biggest fan -- younger brother Lucas -- didn't get to enjoy the Cardinals rookie right-hander's strong effort in Saturday's 1-0 victory over the Dodgers, which gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
While Michael allowed five hits and a walk, striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings at Busch Stadium, Lucas was busy in his own athletic endeavor as a starting outside linebacker for the University of Wyoming.
And Lucas had a big day of his own in the Cowboys' 38-31 victory over New Mexico, played around the same time as Game 2 of the NLCS. The Cowboys are 4-2 overall, and their 2-0 divisional record has them in first place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference.
A redshirt freshman, Lucas had seven tackles, but more significantly, he forced and recovered a fumble to stop a first-quarter New Mexico drive and set up a touchdown march by Wyoming.
Then, with New Mexico -- which trailed, 21-0, late in the first half -- having pulled to within seven points and moving toward another score with slightly more than nine minutes to play, Lucas deflected a pass to Jesse Sampson for an interception, setting up the Cowboys' final touchdown.
"Proud of him," Lucas Wacha said of his brother during an interview on the Cowboy Radio Network following the Wyoming win. "He deserves everything he gets. He is a hard worker. He's a great competitor, and he is so humble."
Michael pays attention to his younger brother, too. "How'd they do?" the right-hander asked after the Cards' win. "How many tackles did he have? I'm proud of him."
Michael is the elder of the two brothers by 10 months. They were competitive growing up but also very close.
"He is my big brother," said Lucas. "I am always asking him for advice. We talk three, four times a week. We sent each other a text [Saturday morning]. He wished me luck, and I wished him luck."
Lucas did play first base at Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas, but while Michael went to college at Texas A&M and was selected by the Cardinals in the 2012 Draft's first round (19th overall), Lucas knew he was cut out to play football. Lucas committed to Wyoming, which doesn't even have a baseball program.
But then Lucas knows firsthand about facing a dominant pitcher -- his brother.
"In high school, I would tip [Michael's fastball]," said Lucas. "I can't say I could hit it now. At spring break, I went down [to the Cards' spring camp in Jupiter, Fla.] and took a few swings against him. It wasn't pretty."
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.