Written by Chelsea White Minnesota Athletic Communications Student Assistant
Tom Windle is coming off three consecutive complete game pitching performances. Against Western Illinois, Windle threw Minnesota's first complete-game no-hitter since 1931. Minnesota's Friday starter, Windle was named the Big Ten, Louisville Slugger and Minor League Baseball's Pitcher of the Week. He followed that performance with another nine-inning game against Indiana State. Against Texas, Windle struck out 12 batters as Minnesota won, 5-1. Pitching in the Cape Cod League over the summer, Windle found his stride in the summer after suffering an injury as a sophomore last season. Read about Windle's accomplishments in this question/answer session.
Q: Tell us all about your recruitment process and the decision to come pitch for Minnesota? A: Coming out of high school and being from here I obviously wanted to be a Gopher. Growing up and coming to games when I was in high school helped that. The program here is really strong and ultimately when I had a chance to commit here, I decided that this would be the right place. I like the fact that it is close to home and my parents can come to games. I also thought I could develop the most here as a player. During the actual recruiting process the coaches reached out to me. Kevin Kray was a high school teammate and he had been recruited the year before me so he kind of helped me through the process. Plus, the coaches were pretty comfortable coming to games at Osseo High School. So they reached out to me and when I pitched pretty well they must have seen something in me that they wanted to become a part of this program.
Q: Coming off of an injured season, how does it feel to be healthy this season and already be having such a successful year? A: It feels good. I think being healthy is the key to everybody's success and for the success of a team. Last year when I had that week when I did not throw and then went back to the bull pen I just wanted to get healthy so I could perform to my ability. So it feels good this year to be strong and to be moving in a good direction."
Q: What are you doing to stay healthy and hopefully prevent any further injury? A: Since last year I have just been doing my rehab. Also I am making sure I am getting my work outs in, lifting a little bit and also running. I think all of it helps to keep me healthy.
Q: You have taken over as the Friday night pitcher, a role previously held by TJ Oakes the past two years. What is it like to now claim the position? A: That was a goal of mine and I think it is pretty cool to hold that position since it is a good leadership role. TJ did a good job his whole career here and was a good role model for me. I think it's big to start out the weekend against another guy's pace and try to get a lead win on that Friday night. It's pretty cool for me since it was one of my goals. Plus it's not bad that I am just done after the first night. Some of my teammates were joking around with me during the UCLA series saying that I should have bought a ticket home after that first win.
Q: So how does it feel to make Gopher baseball history with the nine inning no-hitter? A: It is pretty cool. I really did not think about it too much during the game. Against Dartmouth I did not pitch very well so I just wanted to go out there and throw better. Then at the end of the game, there weren't any hits. I did not realize that it had been so long since a no-hitter in Gopher baseball history so that is definitely pretty amazing.
Q: What was going through your head as your teammates rushed onto the field to come congratulate you got the last out? A: In the ninth inning, must have been when I had two outs, I had to take a quick moment to think "okay I have one more out so I can actually do this." And once I struck that last kid out one of my teammates came out to come celebrate with me and that was pretty cool. I think most of them were genuinely really happy for me. It felt good that my teammates supported me out there and I think it truly shows that we are a team and are in it together.
Q: What personal goals do you set for yourself now that you have accomplished such a high honor? A: My goal is for the team. I want to make a NCAA Regional this year. I think that we have under-performed and we haven't reached our own expectations so I think that is the biggest team goal. I think I am going to need to pitch well. Other guys in our pitching staff are really good so we all just need to pitch to our ability to reach that goal.
Q: Some people may not know that you have an identical twin brother, Sam. Explain the relationship you have with him and how supportive he is of your Minnesota baseball career? A: He has not come to a game yet this year obviously because he is playing hockey at Bemidji State. He came to a couple games this summer when my family made a trip down to the Cape. If he could come to every game he would. We support each other pretty well, whether it is coming to each other's games or just texting each other and talking about it. It is cool too because since he is playing hockey and I played hockey my whole life I can kind of live that experience through him. At the same time he can live the life of a pitcher through me since playing baseball as a Gopher was something I could have never passed up.