April 20, 2012
Austin Lubinsky, a senior right-handed pitcher, was drafted by the San Francisco Giants after his junior season. Coming back for his final year, Lubinsky has really picked up steam throughout the season, and the turning point was the Cal Poly and The Citadel series. Since the start of the year, Lubinsky has lowered his ERA each time he's been out on the mound. Here's a short question and answer with the LaCrosse, Wis., native.
Q: Playing against Cal Poly and then The Citadel, some would say it was a turning point for you. What made those games different for you?
A: "For a while, while I was pitching here I was struggling with my fastball location. Usually I like to establish my fastball early and hit corners and I was not really doing that. Earlier in the season my curve ball was kind of off a little bit, but against Cal Poly it was probably the best my curve ball has ever been. I just have to know all the counts and establish all my pitches. The other biggest thing is attacking guys and going out there and getting the first guy of the inning out. All seven innings I did that, and it really helped with the defense behind us playing well also. Against The Citadel, I didn't have as much since I pitched twice in the same week, but I still came out with that warrior mentality and came out throwing a lot of strikes, got ahead in the count and let the defense play behind me."
Q: Talk about coming back for another year to play here at Minnesota after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants.
A: "It was the atmosphere around here. Coming up as a freshman you always look up to the seniors, juniors, and the older guys on the team and see how they play Gopher baseball. It is a family around here, and that is what I wanted to be around. It just was not the right opportunity for me at the time to go, so I made the decision with my parents to come back and continue school and be one step closer to graduating. Just coming back with the guys we have a great team this year. Also I wanted to help the freshman and the incoming guys by coming back. There are a ton of them on the team and I wanted to show them about Gopher baseball and just be around them and continue to watch them grow as the years go on for them."
Q: You are one of three players from LaCrosse, Wisconsin (Drew Ghelfi and Bobby Juan). Did you know or play with or against them before coming to Minnesota? How has it been playing together?
A: "Yes definitely, but we did not go to the same high school. They both went to Central and I went to Logan, but growing up you always know the better players. There are a lot of LaCrosse teams so you get the chance to play them. I was from French Island so we didn't always have the best program, but we would play against their team and they played together a lot. They had a little better team, but we would always have a pretty good game against them and I would pitch against them. I also played hockey with Drew because we had a Co-Op team with our two high schools. Bobby was a freshman when I was a junior, and even though our team was pretty good he was an outstanding young player that I faced my junior and senior year. He has showed us here at Minnesota that this year he has had a great year with more experience."
Q: Tell me about your earliest childhood memory you have playing baseball?
A: "Growing up my dad was always my coach, and I have an older brother who is a year and a half older than me so I always played up with him and our Dad would coach. I was always with family playing the game. It was good to have an older brother so I could play against better competition, so I always had a little step up with the guys my age, which I think has helped me play better today."
Q: What is your favorite part about a rain delay? What is the craziest thing you have seen or done during one?
A: Basically we hate rain delays from last year because we had a lot of them. But during them, you always have your riddles on baseballs getting passed back and forth between the two dugouts. And then dance off: this summer I probably saw, was not a part of, but probably some of the best dance offs. Some guys get a little crazy, and it is always fun to watch them and the fans get into them too. I have never been a part of anything too crazy myself because I like to just sit back and watch it."
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals you do before each game?
A: "I almost have too many. I am pretty superstitious about like socks or undershirts. If I do not pitch well with one, I will wear something different the next game. I wore my pants up because I have been struggling with my pants down, so went pants up and pitched well. Other than that, Roger and Dave with the dugout club, and Billy, they give me creme pies before I pitch, so that is another thing that I started doing last year. That was kind of an inside joke but it continued onto this year."
Pitching Coach Todd Oakes Passes Away At 55
Minnesota assistant baseball coach Todd Oakes passed away today after a courageous and public battle with leukemia. Oakes, who coached the Minnesota pitching staff, was 55.
Gophers Drop Out of B1G Tournament
Minnesota falls to Michigan 3-2 in an elimination game on Thursday at TD Ameritrade Park
Minnesota Falls in B1G Tournament Opener
Gophers play at 1 p.m. in an elimination game tomorrow afternoon against either Michigan or Ohio State