Pitcher Michael Paul – The Friday Night Guy

Mentality and consistency make him the perfect game one starter.

Senior pitcher Michael Paul preparing for his start this weekend against rival school Nova Southeastern. 

TAMPA, Fla. – Michael Paul has been a workhorse at University of Tampa for the past three seasons, and his reliability is what makes him the ideal Friday night starter.

Paul has led the Spartans in innings pitched each of the past two seasons and this campaign has been no different.

The 6-foot-3 righthander believes that being around for a few years gives him an advantage on the competition.

“Knowing who I’m playing against and (knowing) what has been successful over the years kind of gives me an edge over other teams,” Paul said. “I know what to expect from a typical SSC (Sunshine State Conference) Division II team.”

Tampa head coach Joe Urso said he has so much faith in Paul every time he goes out on the mound because “he pounds the zone with four pitches. For a ‘Friday night guy’, the key is not utilizing the whole bullpen in one day … and he’s been a guy who can go out there and give us five to seven innings and a quality start every outing.”

The transfer from Santa Fe College has the perfect mentality to fulfill that role for his skipper.

“Eat up innings, just go as far as you can,” Paul said. “You don’t have to have lights-out stuff to be a Friday night guy, you just have to save your bullpen because we play two games on Saturday. If they pitch Friday and go more than one inning, they’re most likely not going to be able to go (the next day) … I just want everybody to get on my back and let me go as far as I can.”

That faith between coach and player goes both ways. As the 24-year-old Clearwater, Fla., native explained, “building confidence with my coaches” is one of the things that enables him to go out and be his best every seven days. This is evident when it comes to the belief he has in associate head coach Sam Militello’s pitch calling during games.

“I just let coach Sam take the reins, because I trust him enough that I know he’s got something in his head to get this guy out,” Paul said. “I just try to execute as much as I can.”

Even after playing the sport for so many years, Paul’s enthusiasm for the game never wavers.

When describing his mindset going into his starts, he said “It’s always been excitement. … You can’t help but get excited. I’m 24 and I’m still like a kid inside. I still get the adrenaline rush.”

With just a couple of months left in his college baseball career, the senior righty has acknowledged that his time on the field is coming to a close, however when he’s at the ballpark, he refuses to think about what’s next.

“When I’m here, I try to put everything into baseball. I don’t think about school, I don’t think about anything. That’s for the rest of the hours of the day,” he said.

The Spartans continue their season with a series against Nova Southeastern this weekend. To nobody’s surprise, Michael Paul gets the rock Friday night.

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Posted: Mar 23 2023 8:34 pm
Filed under: Baseball College NCAA Sports