Junior left-hander Anthony Elia is a pitcher for Seton Hall who just wanted an opportunity to prove himself as a capable starter who can win games for his team, and he was given that chance.
In the second game of last season, Elia was told that he would be in the bullpen for the game against then No. 1-ranked North Carolina.
He was called upon in just the third inning and provided two scoreless innings of two-hit ball to start his sophomore year, and then emerged as a regular starter for the team.
“I got my opportunities from working really hard in my bullpens,” Elia said. “I felt like I could go out there and give my best effort, but getting those starts last year gave me a lot of experience coming into this year.”
Elia finished last season with a 6-2 overall record and wielded a 3.65 ERA over 49.1 innings.
His most memorable performance for Elia also came out of his sophomore season when he got the nod against Michigan at Citi Field.
Elia picked up his sixth win of the season in that game by giving up two earned runs over 5.2 innings.
“That was one of the coolest things when I started at Citi Field,” Elia said. “I had family and friends there, and it was a big honor to be there and get the win against Michigan.”
This season, Elia holds a 3-3 record on the mound with a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts. He has recorded 37 strikeouts to only 16 walks and has one complete-game shutout so far.
The shutout came against Central Connecticut State on March 29 in the second game of a doubleheader.
Elia gave up four hits and walked two batters, but struck out a career-high seven hitters to blank the Blue Devils.
“I was getting ahead with my fastball, and spotting pitches well,” Elia said. “The defense was making every play behind me and I just owe it to them because I was pitching to contact.”
Just two days after the victory, Elia was given weekly honors as he was named the Big East Pitcher of the Week for his performance against CCSU.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” he said. “I want people to recognize me as a hard worker and a good team player. The guys who have graduated ahead of me, that’s how I think of them so I would want to be remembered as a competitor.”
Although Elia wants to be remembered as a competitor, and also has hopes for playing baseball in his future, he has not lost sight of his other goals off the diamond. As a criminal justice major, he is also hopeful that he can land a job in his field.
“There are things to look forward to besides baseball like get- ting my degree, and maybe pursuing criminal justice,” Elia said. “Two of my uncles were officers and I always looked up to them when I was younger. My family would be so proud of me if I became a police officer.”
Elia, whose repertoire consists of a fastball, slider and changeup, said that he plans on doing everything that he can to get his team to a Big East Championship.
“I just want to win as many games as I can,” Elia said. “You always want to go out there with a quality start. That’s really what I look forward to and my team will pick me up defensively and offensively.”
Since that game against CCSU, Elia has picked up a loss against Butler and a no-decision against Georgetown, which resulted in a Seton Hall loss on a walk-off hit by the Hoyas.
The Pirates are 28-9 overall and 3-3 in conference play with 14 games left to play before the Big East Championship.
Mike Romano can be reached at email@example.com.