Today: Mar 03, 2024

Catching up with an Owls captain

Photo courtesty Southernctowls.com
Yerina finished last season with a 3-1 record and a 1.71 ERA in only nine games.

ANDREW ANASTASIOStaff Writer

Plagued by injuries last year, Owls senior pitcher Ryan Yerina, has been named a co-captain entering the 2012 season.

Because of injuries, Yerina appeared in nine games with three starts and finished the 2011 season with a record of 3-1. Through those nine games, Yerina accumulated 12 strikeouts in 26 innings and posted an ERA of 1.71. He also held batters to a .216 batting average.

“I’m looking to win a lot of games and reach the college world series like last year,” said Yerina.

Yerina began pitching in fourth grade. He said he was a poor fielder and, at the time, he could no longer play any other position rather than pitcher. Pitching, not fielding, is what he sought.

“I could no longer play the field,” said Yerina. “I just wasn’t any good at it. So I picked up pitching and took off from there.”

Since his freshman season in 2009, Yerina has an overall record of 13-5 with an ERA of 2.47 in 188 innings of work. Head coach Tim Shea said what makes Yerina such an effective pitcher is his skill level and poise out on the mound.

“He’s smart and he has a lot of ability,” said Shea. “He’s got command of his pitches along with great determination, so whatever he lacks on an off-day, he makes up for it with heart and determination to get the job done.”

Yerina attended high school in his hometown of Trumbull. Coming out of high school, he said he chose to come to Southern because of the coaching staff and the proximity to his home.

“I liked the school and the coaches were great,” said Yerina. “The school was close to home, so it made me feel good to be here knowing I could leave if I needed too.”

Despite minimal appearances last season, Yerina started in the regional game against Franklin Pierce. Shea said his performance alone in that game was key for the Owls advancing in the tournament.

“He’s been bothered all last year with injuries,” said Shea. “He came and gave us a great start of five innings to get us to the regional final. That was a gutsy performance.”

Last season, the Owls starting pitchers finished with an overall record of 30-5. The team finished first in the Northeast-10 Conference with 496 innings pitched and second in strikeouts with 453. Assistant coach Nate Cole said that even though Yerina was slowed down last year, he is a big part of keeping the team going on all fronts.

“He does a lot of things well,” said Cole. “He leads on and off the field and is setting an example for other guys on the staff for the past four years. He brings a great effort on the diamond every day.”

In the previous two games of this season, the Owls defeated Merrimack in a double-header, 2-1 and 3-1. Starting off the season at 3-1, Shea said he believes that Yerina is worthy of his role as a captain.

“We have had him for four years and he never wants to come out of the game,” said Shea. “He’s one of the hardest working guys and is a great role model to the young guys.

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