Cole Bryant leaving nothing on the field in senior year
Phil Zoppi – Sports Editor
Cole Bryant of the Southern baseball team has been dominating opposing lineups early on in the season and has been a key cog in the team’s turnaround.
The redshirt senior has pitched his way to a 0.46 ERA in 39 innings pitched. Bryant holds a record of 4-0 and is the ace that the baseball team desperately needed after having a team ERA of 4.40 a year ago. Bryant points to the progression of his curveball to one of the main reasons he is having so much success in 2017.
“I would say my curveball has come quite a ways since last year,” said Bryant. “After I had surgery I kind of lost the touch that I had for the pitch and it took my almost all of last year to get the feel back for the pitch.”
Bryant did not see any action in 2014 or 2015 due to an arm injury. Last season was the first time Bryant took the field for Southern since 2013 and he did not have nearly the success he is having now. Bryant pitched 35 innings and finished with a 4.37 ERA as a junior.
Fellow senior and starting third baseman Greg Zullo has seen more value in Bryant than just what he does on the mound. With eight underclassmen pitchers on the team Bryant can help them develop so that there is not as big of a void left when he eventually graduates.
“Cole leads this team by example,” said Zullo. “He takes care of the pitching staff. This is Cole’s sixth year here so he’s seen the program at its highs and lows and the young staff really listen to and watches his approach in games.”
The other pitchers on the staff are following in Bryant’s footsteps this season as the team has pitched to a 4.01 ERA and have been a big reason why the Owls have gotten off to a 12-4-1 start. Being a part of the Southern baseball program for six years now Bryant has had his fair share of disappointing seasons. The 2017 team could be the best team that Bryant will ever be a part of during his Southern career and after playing just 17 games this year he thinks that there is no limit to what this team can achieve.
“I believe our team is a great ball club and the sky’s the limit for us,” said Bryant. “So far this season we have played all facets of the game well. We are a hardworking team and are really motivated to have a special season.”
Being around the program for six years has also given Bryant the chance to study batters more and gain more knowledge about the sport in general. Obviously any college pitcher has to have some degree of arm talent but there is a lot more that goes into the art of pitching. Zullo believes that Bryant has mastered his craft in his sixth year with the program to become what he likes to call him the “sheriff” of the staff.
“Cole is such a dominant pitcher because he’s a student of the game,” said Zullo. “When he watches baseball he’s studying the pitchers with sequences they use to certain batters. Cole realizes that sometimes velocity isn’t what gets hitters out but being smart and forcing the hitters to make the mistakes is.”
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications