Walking off the mound in the top of the sixth inning, the hard-throwing lefty received a standing ovation from the Hurricane faithful at Alex Rodriguez Park.
The applause was well deserved. He held NC State to just one unearned run in the series opener, a game that Miami went on to win 4-1.
Some questioned head coach Jim Morris’s decision to start a true freshman at the front end of the rotation this season, but the critics have been silenced. Bryan Radziewski is the real deal.
“He had a great fall. He earned that early spot to be pitching on Friday night,” Morris said. “Whether he was a freshman or not, he was our best pitcher in the preseason.”
The choice has paid off. Radziewski is 5-2 on the year and is tied for second on the team with 48 strikeouts.
The Miami native grew up around Hurricane baseball, attending ballgames at Mark Light Field as a youngster.
“I would come to games as a kid and enjoy the baseball and the milkshakes,” Radziewski said.
It wasn’t until his early days at Florida Christian School, however, that Radziewski knew he wanted to be a Hurricane.
“I knew I wanted to come to Miami my freshman year,” Radziewski said. “I started a game… and I saw Jim Morris there, and for some reason it just clicked.”
While the decision to commit to Miami was easy, the adjustment to facing college hitters was not.
Following a rocky first start during the preseason, Radziewski was discouraged. Pitching coach J.D. Arteaga took him aside and told the first year player to keep his head up.
“I had a different mentality like, ‘you’re in college, you’re in Division I baseball,’” Radziewski said. “J.D. [told]me, ‘it’s the same game as in high school- as when you were a little kid.’”
Since then, Radziewski has not looked back. He is the anchor of a stellar pitching staff that boasts a 16-5 record heading into Wednesday night’s contest with Barry University.
“We’re all doing very good right now,” Radziewski said. “There was a big question mark in the fall about the pitching staff and we really have shown what we can do.”
Radziewski sometimes comes off as quiet during press conferences, but the avid viewer of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” is anything but reserved around his teammates, even on nights he takes the mound.
“I’m real loose… I don’t like to be too serious,” he said. “I’m the type of pitcher that’s messing around with everyone.”
His teammates call him “B-Rad,” a nickname that has followed Radziewski for a while. They have come to enjoy his presence in the dugout and locker room.
“He brings a good attitude,” senior right fielder Chris Pelaez said. “He’s lighthearted and he’s a great guy to have.”
Morris acknowledges that he envisioned this type of success for Radziewski when he recruited the Florida Christian product.
“He’s a pretty complete pitcher for a young guy,” Morris said. “He’s pretty knowledgeable of the game.”
Radziewski says his goal is to one day make it to the big leagues. Until then, he plans to enjoy the college experience and the time spent with his teammates.
“Something I love about this team is that we’re all loose. Even before the game we’re messing around in the locker room, listening to music,” he said. “Then, when it comes to game time, we just flip that switch and we’re ready to play.”
Adam Berger may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.