Pitzulo making impact in first year with Falcons

Justin Onslow and Justin Onslow

Freshman Matt Pitzulo is making an immediate impact on the Falcon baseball team.

Pitzulo is hitting .355 this season and is leading a group of talented Falcon freshmen in several offensive categories, including slugging (.484) and on-base percentage (.420).

Pitzulo has made the transition from high school to college baseball look easy so far, but he is the first to admit it has been an arduous process.

“The season is a lot longer than a high school season,” Pitzulo said. “Obviously the game isn’t what it was when I was in high school. You start to have to deal with failure more.”

Failure is not something Pitzulo had to battle often in high school. He set seven school records in his career at Poland Seminary in Poland, Ohio, piecing together a senior season in which he hit .565 with eight home runs.

Pitzulo has always loved baseball. His father got him into baseball when he was 5 years old, coaching him almost every year until he graduated. Pitzulo’s passion for the game made playing in college an easy choice, and after visiting the University last year, becoming a Falcon was another easy choice.

“There were a few other schools I was looking at, but I came here on a visit and I liked the campus. I liked how it was like a small town and the coaches seemed real nice,” Pitzulo said. “It just seemed like a good fit.”

Pitzulo has been a great fit for the team, too. With several Falcons nursing injuries throughout the young season, he has had chances to shine. His clutch hitting has boosted the Falcons in some close wins this year, including a two-out, two-run shot up the middle that gave the Falcons the lead in their win against Eastern Michigan this past weekend.

In spite of Pitzulo’s early success, he admits just playing baseball at this level is enough to excite him.

“It’s a fun game — It’s fun to play,” Pitzulo said. “I couldn’t really ask for more — being a freshman and pretty much being in the lineup every day trying to help us turn this thing around.”

The team has been struggling as of late, dropping four of its last five games. Pitzulo said a lot of the team’s struggles are results of lack of preparedness and concentration.

“A lot of the mistakes we’re making are from not being mentally ready,” Pitzulo said. “A lot of them are mental errors.”

Pitzulo turns 20 years old today, and with BG taking on Ball State at home this weekend, he has one birthday wish.

“We definitely need to get back on track, and I think that would be a great birthday present to go out and win a series and hopefully sweep them,” Pitzulo said.

The Falcons are 2-4 in Mid-American Conference play this year. This weekend’s home series will be a great opportunity for BG to put some notches in the win column.

“I think this should be a big time,” Pitzulo said. “It’s still early, but at the same time, we’ve already played two MAC series already, so I think turning it around this weekend would be a good start.”

Pitzulo does not expect things to just happen, though. His main goal is to help the team win, and his willingness to play multiple positions shows he just wants to contribute. Pitzulo will play anywhere without complaint — as long as he gets to step up to the plate.

“Wherever they need me to play, I’ll play, as long as I get to hit,” Pitzulo said. “I love hitting.”

With the freshman season Pitzulo is having, he has every reason to love it.