Today: Jun 25, 2024

Pitching toward records

Andrew Anastasio Special to Southern News
Tied for the team’s lead with 10 wins last year, Owls senior pitcher Chris Zbin has been named a co-captain entering the 2012 season.
Having appeared in 17 games last year with 15 starts, Zbin accumulated 10 victories, finishing with an overall record of 10-2. In 107 total innings pitched, Zbin ended last season with a team high of 112 strikeouts and posted an ERA of 1.25.
Head coach Tim Shea said what makes Zbin such an effective pitcher is his poise on the mound.
“He just knows how to pitch,” said Shea. “In terms of his demeanor out on the mound and willingness to go out there and give us everything he’s got, he has that kind of confidence that he puts the team on his back and gets the job done.”
Zbin began pitching in little league when he was 11 years old. Control, not velocity, is what he sought. At the time, he said his coach gave him the opportunity to pitch because of what they saw in his arm.
“My coach thought I had a strong arm and decided to try me,” said Zbin. “I was a little wild, but eventually I started to gain a little more control and became a pitcher from there.”
Zbin attended high school at Bacon Academy, located in his hometown of Colchester. Coming out of high school, he said he chose to come to Southern for the 2009 season because of the program’s reputation for winning.
“I came to Southern because of the coaches; and the program was really good,” said Zbin. “Southern has been known to be successful and I’m glad with my decision.”
Since his freshman season in 2009, Zbin holds the record in career strikeouts with 260, a record which previously stood at 228 set by Brian Forgione from 2001-’04. Zbin also broke Forgione’s season strikeout record of 83 when he tallied 101 in the 2010 season. His career numbers include an ERA of 2.41 and a record of 22-6.
Zbin is two wins shy of breaking Southern’s career record in wins at 23 set by Forgione. Shea said for the four years he has been on the team, he has been lights out.
“Since he got here he’s been automatic,” said Shea. “He’s got a great work ethic. He works extremely hard; he gets himself ready for every start, and he always wants the ball.”
Owls catcher, sophomore T.J. Shea said, even he has difficulty catching the ace of the pitching staff.
“His pitches are a little tough to handle sometimes,” said T.J. Shea. “You really have to focus in on his pitches. It’s a challenge.”
Despite the “challenge” T.J. Shea faces behind home plate this season, he said that he and Zbin have developed a unique connection that he believes will translate into success on the field.
“I’ve gotten to really know his pitching style,” said T.J. Shea. “I think him and I are going to mesh well together this season.”
Last season, the Owls starting pitchers finished with an overall record of 30-5. A team that qualified for the Division II College World Series and made it through the first three rounds of the tournament before being eliminated by Winona State University 7-5. Shea said that without a doubt he’s confident that Zbin can lead the team to accomplish what they did a season ago.
“He’s going to be one of the big guys,” said Shea. “We got a bunch of horses on our squad that we are depending on; he’s just one of them. He’s at the top, and we expect good things out of him this year.”

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