When Sacramento State teammates drove to a Salt Lake Trapper tryout camp at Pepperdine University this spring, relief pitcher Pat Jurado went along for the ride.

It turned out Jurado was the only man at the tryout camp to impress Trapper Manager Nick Belmonte, but Belmonte hesitated. Was that curveball that dropped off the table really that good, or were the tryout hitters that bad?"He didn't have a whole lot of college credentials," Belmonte says. Jurado didn't work much at Sacramento. Three Sac State pitching mates are still playing pro ball. They were good; he couldn't complain.

Belmonte told him he'd be in touch after the tryout, but he wasn't. Jurado went to a tryout in Mexico. The night he returned home, Trapper personnel boss Van Schley called. It was a month into the season, and the Traps needed help.

Jurado arrived in Salt Lake City at 4 a.m. on July 10 and boarded the team bus at 8 a.m. for the daylong ride to Medicine Hat, Alberta, with a bunch of strangers. He was a Trapper for a week and a half before he got to pitch. It was hard to feel like part of the group when nobody knew what he could do.

Finally, in a July 20 home game the Trappers already led 16-1, Jurado got his chance. Belmonte and pitching coach Mark Brewer pulled Ken Whitworth in the sixth to see Jurado's stuff. He didn't disappoint, striking out five, giving up one hit and no runs in four innings.

He got a save, and he's been getting them ever since. In 10 appearances, he has five saves, which probably puts him sixth, seventh or eighth in the Pioneer League, even though he missed the first month of the season. With a 11/3-inning outing Sunday - for which he got Save No. 5 - he allowed no hits and no runs, dropping his earned-run average to 0.93. Jurado is Belmonte's No. 1 closer.

"He's just been super. He's got a future in this game," says Belmonte, who said he'd be surprised if no big-league organization signs him for next season.

Of course, the scouts will have to look past the Trappers' little "in" joke about him. The second time he pitched at Derks Field, they played "Wild Thing" over the P.A. system. That's the song that was re-popularized by the movie "Major League" about an odd pitcher.

At first, the music worried Jurado. He had school friends in the audience, and he figured he'd better do well.

Later, he told Trapper general manager Dave Baggott the music pumped him up, so it's become a ritual. Teammates call him "Mexican Wild Thing," and Baggott plays the music when he appears. Sunday, Jurado told Baggott he'd put on a show and throw his first warmup pitch over the catcher's head to shock people. It sailed into the backstop 20 feet high. Wilder than he'd planned.

"Wild Thing," Jurado says, fits his on-the-mound personality. His stuff is accurate, but he's wildly intense, which means relieving's better for him than starting.

Jurado pitches with an attitude.

"The adrenalin pumps. You go with a fastball, Jurado says. The plate's as much his as the hitter's, and he'll challenge for it. "I'll lay it on the table; you dig in, and I'll come up and in," he says. "It's a mental game."