TAMPA, Fla. –As the University of Tampa baseball team approaches the midway point of their season, junior starter Skylar Gonzalez is ready to pitch in for a championship.
The Fort Lauderdale native is in his first semester at Tampa after transferring from playing junior college at Polk State.
“I just want to help the team,” Gonzalez said at the team practice facility Thursday. “Obviously, I want to do well, but if I can give the team five solid innings in any situation, I’ll be happy.”
Coach Joe Urso believes the pitcher is necessary for the Spartans’ success in the postseason.
“If we’re going to make the championship runs that most Tampa teams make, he has the ability to help make that happen,” said Urso, who has won five Division II titles.
“He’s one of the guys who needs to improve if we’re going to be a great team in the second half.”
Gonzalez says the pressure doesn’t get to him, and credits that to his ability to enjoy life outside of baseball.
“The most important thing to me – and this is something I tell anyone new or incoming to college baseball – is to find things outside of baseball which you really enjoy,” Gonzalez said.
“I enjoy doing graphic design and being outside,”
“If I have a bad outing, like this past weekend, I’ll go to the beach after the game and just sit down by myself and think to decompress.”
The 23-year-old got pulled in the third inning after a shaky start, but his team went on to win 14-7 against Florida Southern.
The right-hander knows how important the support of teammates can be.
“They recognize the position I’m in and understand when I need to be bolstered rather than chopped down,” Gonzalez said.
“I have to keep on top of my game because I know everyone else is too, and I can’t be the weak link.”