Duplicate. Interchangeable. Carbon copies. Those are the stereotypes that many twins grow up with regarding their other half. Although some may look to defy that stereotype, one duo on the Hurricane pitching staff has come to embrace it.
Fraternal twins Sam and Zach Robinson were born and raised Hurricanes. Their father is the CFO of the UM business school, and green and orange run through their blood. The twins are both relief pitchers for the UM baseball team.
Though many would expect a set of twins to separate for college and attempt to branch out, the Robinsons relish in the ability to spend their collegiate careers together, playing for the team they grew up idolizing.
“Being able to play for the Canes is in itself a dream come true,” Sam said. “Being able to play with my brother is even greater. We always played on the same team growing up. But being able to take that to the collegiate level is something not everyone has been able to accomplish.”
At first glance, the boys barely look related. They are as different as night and day. Sam is the quieter of the two, while Zach is the extroverted, in-your-face twin.
Despite their differences, Zach feels that he and his brother balance each other out.
“We both are kind of like our mental checks,” Zach said. “He is the one who usually has to tell me to calm down and not lose my head. I usually have to give Sam a confidence boost, tell him he doesn’t suck and that when he’s on the mound that no one can touch him.”
After playing high school ball at Killian Senior High School in Miami, the twins initially split up, as Zach chose to attend the University of Tennessee. After the very first week of practice, he was ready to return home.
“I told Sam to tell J.D. [Arteaga] that I wanted to play next fall,” Zach said. “[J.D.] told me to get back in shape and come try out. I made the team that next fall.”
Zach’s short time at Tennessee marked a rare occurrence in the Robinson family with the boys being on different teams. Thus, given the opportunity, returning to his Hurricane roots was an easy decision.
“I’ve wanted to play at UM since I was like 5, and I knew that I had the talent to fight for a spot at UM,” Zach said. “I just had to do what it would take to make the team.”
Upon transferring to Miami, Zach sat out the 2009 season because of NCAA transfer regulations. But in 2010, Zach was transformed from a shortstop, which he played at Killian, to a catcher. He often caught bullpens for Sam, a pitcher from an early age.
This season, Zach stands on the other end of the bullpen as a relief pitcher.
“I’m new to pitching and trying to establish a role on the staff,” Zach said. “Sam has been here for three years and already established his role as a key guy in the pen.”
Zach is learning from Sam, the more experienced reliever on the team.
“Over winter break Sam would help me with my mechanics and just the whole mental strategy of the game since I flipped to the opposite side of baseball,” Zach said.
Sam enjoys his role as Zach’s mentor in the bullpen.
“It’s fun to see him out there pitching and I try to help him as much as I can,” Sam said. “Even though sometimes he can be hard-headed.”
The twins are now mirror images on paper, playing the same position on the same team. Sam stresses that there is no tension or competition between them.
“We never really faced competition with each other too often,” he said. “But if you ever asked who has won the lifetime competition we will both have strong arguments. I’ll say I won, he says he won.”
Michelle Salom may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.