Throughout his college career, South Carroll grad Rob Lynch has continually refined his game while pitching for Towson State.
Lynch went with a side-arm delivery his sophomore year that put more movementon his fastball.
This year, the senior has added a changeup that has kept opposingbatters off-balance all season.
The hard work has paid off for Lynch and the Tigers, who are looking to repeat as East Coast Conference champions. The Mount Airy native entered yesterday's conference game against Central Connecticut (after press time) with a 3-1 record onthe season and a 2.45 earned run average.
The Tigers entered thisweekend 14-11 overall, and 4-2 and tied for first in the ECC.
"He's the ace of our staff," said fifth-year manager Mike Gottlieb.
"He hasn't had a bad outing yet. I'm very happy with the way he's pitched this season."
Throughout his career, Lynch has been a ground-ball pitcher with great control and consistency.
Last season, he struggled a bit early but came on strong at the end to post a 5-3 record with a 4.16 ERA.
The addition of the changeup this season has made him more effective and also produced more strikeouts.
In slightly more than 36 innings, the 6-foot, 155-pound right-hander has struck out 25 batters, while allowing just five walks.
"It's been a four-year kind of thing," said Lynch of the changeup.
"We began working on it right into college, and something finally clicked this year," he said. "It gives me an added dimension. The ball really dives a lot and I've been able to keep it down. I was more of a groundout pitcher before, but the changeup has gotten me more strikeouts.
"That's really important because there are times when you have a runner on third and a groundout isn't what you're looking for," he said.
Lynch has four pitches in his arsenal.
Along with his fastball and changeup, he'll toss a split-finger fastball and mix it up occasionallywith a curve.
Chances are, whatever he throws will be near the plate and tough to hit.
"He throws strikes and has great control," Gottlieb said.
"When he takes the mound, I expect us to be in the ballgame -- that's been the case the last three years. I know we have a pretty good chance to win, and that's really all you can ask for."
Lynch's theory on pitching is pretty simple: Just throw strikes.
"I just try to get ahead of the batter," he said.
"The most important thing is not to walk anybody -- walks usually kill you. If you can get in front, you can mix things up and throw your pitch."
This will be the last season Lynch is in a Towson State uniform. The chemistry major is expecting to graduate next spring, and hopes to tradehis college duds for a professional uniform one day.
"We got a couple of hitters the scouts are coming out to see. I just hope I can continue to pitch well and maybe catch someone's attention," he said.
"There's a chance I may get drafted or maybe get a look as a free agent."