ECU’s Lucroy finds confidence with new mentality
Published 1:56 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2015
GREENVILLE — In his three seasons as a pitcher with the Pirates, David Lucroy has seen it all.
Following a freshman season in which the junior righty was named a freshman All-American with a 4-2 record and a 2.49 ERA, Lucroy regressed mightily as a sophomore.
Pitching behind first-round pick Jeff Hoffman, Lucroy wasn’t able to emulate the same success that helped him establish an East Carolina freshman record with 82 strikeouts during his second season on the mound.
Instead of improving, he found himself with a 2-6 record and a 4.75 ERA. He was eventually moved to the bullpen because of control issues and by the time the forgettable sophomore campaign was over, Lucroy had 34 strikeouts to a staggering 29 walks.
This season, however, Lucroy has found his control, and with it, success on the mound. He’s 1-0 and boasts a 1.96 ERA, while allowing just five runs in four starts.
When it comes to looking for reasons for the bounce back start to the season, the junior pitcher points to the team’s new head coach Cliff Godwin.
“[He said] I deserve to succeed just like this team deserves to succeed,” Lucroy said. “That’s the biggest thing he’s said. I’ve put in the work, this team’s put in the work and we deserve success. We just have to play like we prepared because we all deserve to win.”
There’s no doubting that Lucroy has the physical ability to be successful pitcher. The Milwaukee Brewers drafted him out of high school in the 29th round. Where he struggled last season, and even into the winter with off-season baseball, was staying out of his own head.
“Coach Godwin has done an unbelievable amount of mental stuff with me,” Lucroy said. “I’m the mental guy on the team. I’m the head case or whatever, but coach Godwin has absolutely crushed me about the mental game and pushed me to just be confident in my ability.”
His ability has allowed him to increase his strikeouts, while decreasing his walks. Despite being relegated to the bullpen by Godwin before the season’s start, Lucroy got his chance to start after a hand injury to projected ace Reid Love.
His first start was against No. 3 Virginia during Saturday of the opening series. In that game, he stymied the high-power Cavalier offense and held Virginia to just two runs on four hits through five and one-third innings.
As far as rebounding from his sophomore slump goes, Lucroy has found a new mindset that he claims came from maturity. Being one of the few upperclassmen on the young team, Lucroy has learned things that only come with experience.
“It’s kind of come with maturity,” he said. “When you’re younger you just want to blow away everybody and that’s just not realistic. You just have to let the defense work because our defense is unbelievable and that’s just something you got to learn.”