It’s often said baseball is boring. People cite long games with the occasional 10-second burst of activity, but they’re missing the wonderful nuances of the sport. It’s a game of patience and strategy dictated by the lone man on the mound. Ice flows through his veins while he carefully sets the pace of the game. This is the role of the pitcher. This is the world of Mike Marsillo.
Marsillo, a fifth year Mechanical Engineering major hails from Scottsdale, Ariz. His baseball career started in a familiar place for most boys — five years old, hitting balls off a tee and trying to resist the urge to pick dandelions in the field. Thirteen years later he came to RIT because it was his chance to play ball while pursuing a degree. Scouted primarily for his infield abilities, he started as a third baseman in his first year. After his coach saw him pitch, everything changed. He was made a starting pitcher. His first start for the Tigers was a nine inning complete game.
So where’s he at, four years later? He has a 2.51 earned run average, five complete games (two of which were shutouts), and 25 strikeouts. He’s become a true workhorse, leading the team with innings pitched. His 17 career wins at RIT tie him for the fourth most all-time at the school.
His excellence was formally recognized April 24 when he was named the Empire 8 Pitcher of the Week. Just two days earlier, he had tossed his second consecutive shutout complete game in a 12-0 routing of Utica College.
The previous shut out came against Ithaca College. Marsillo recalls this day as one of his finest moments of the season. “[Ithaca has] a lot of good hitters, so what I was trying to do was break up their best four hitters. I didn’t want them hitting in the same inning to prevent as much damage as possible. We were only up 2-0 going into the fifth inning, and we broke out five runs in [that] inning. I had only given up two or three hits at that point and I knew it was definitely a possibility and I kind of wanted to shut them out at that point because they beat me three times before that,” he recalled.
“It’s my job to keep us in the game,” he said. “We came out firing, scored one run in the first inning, and I did my job to keep them off the board.”
Head Coach Rob Grow said of Marsillo, “Mike has been our best pitcher, and when he is on the mound, we feel like we can beat anyone. He has really stepped up his focus and pace on the mound and he has been tough to hit. As far as his interactions with the team Mike is very outgoing and is one of the guys that the team rallies around.”
The future remains unclear for Marsillo. He graduates this year and would like to play ball in the minor leagues, but in his words, “It is out of my hands.”
“It’s my life. It is awesome being out there, especially being the pitcher. I control the outcome of the game. It’s a good feeling when you are on top of your game. You feel like no one can hit you.”