After a year of waiting to get back to work, Georgia’s Patrick Boling is enjoying an efficient start to the 2013 season.
Boling, a redshirt junior who is slated to pitch in this weekend’s series against Belmont, made his season debut on the mound for Georgia in a 3-2 loss at Georgia Southern last Saturday.
He allowed three runs in his four innings pitched but still managed to strike out a career-high nine batters.
Boling said he didn’t feel nervous getting back on the mound after his year off.
“In baseball, it’s really just about executing your mechanics and stuff like that, and those strikeouts really come a lot from Brett (DeLoach) helping me out behind the plate and Coach (David Perno) calling a good game,” Boling said. “I also have a lot to build on.”
Boling spent the entire 2012 season on Georgia’s bench. However, the 6-foot-2 lefty didn’t see it as a wasted year.
“For the most part, that redshirt year just drives you to do that much better the next year,” Boling said. “It just drives you to focus on your mechanics, and for me, I just broke down my windup and it helps me a lot whenever I get in a mess.”
Boling said the time off gave him a chance to regain his focus and concentration for frustrating situations.
“I can take a step back and know exactly what’s going on because I had that year to concentrate on nothing but my mechanics,” Boling said.
Boling’s experience from his redshirt year also benefited teammates. Freshman Sean McLaughlin started for Georgia in its 6-5 season-opening victory at Georgia Southern, and he said Boling is a guy who helps mentor the younger players.
“He’s definitely one of the leaders,” McLaughlin said. “Even though he wasn’t here last year, I can tell that he’s got respect amongst the clubhouse. He’s just been helping us out with pitching mechanics, composure and experience.”
McLaughlin also credited Boling for the effort he has put into getting a spot in Georgia’s starting rotation.
“I think it’s awesome and it basically shows his hard work ethic,” McLaughlin said. “He put so much work into getting back and getting into the starting rotation that my hat’s off to him. He’s a great pitcher and he’s going to do well for us this year.”
Perno said getting Boling back in the rotation was like acquiring a new prospect.
“It’s like signing a superstar recruit,” Perno said. “He worked really hard in his redshirt year, and not only is he in an impact role but to be a weekend starter just takes a lot of pressure off.”
Perno said Boling still looked comfortable on the mound after a year of having no game experience.
“The kid knows how to pitch and he’s got great talent,” Perno said. “It’s just a matter of him being consistent in the strike zone, and he’s shown that on a consistent basis. He’s a guy who’s left-handed with a power arm and he’s got three pitches.”
Perno described Boling as a loyal player, going on to say he has always taken on any responsibility asked of him.
“Patrick has been very loyal every year,” Perno said. “He’s always around and helping in any way he can and I’m just really happy for him. It’s a great story. He’s been through a lot, he’s overcome a lot and now he’s got an opportunity to reap some benefits.”