Kevin O’Sullivan has tried to contain his excitement for freshman pitcher Brady Singer.
Florida’s head coach knows that 95-mph arms taken in the second round don’t often attend college, which is why he could only smile when he found out he’d be coaching Singer.
"It makes your job a hell of a lot easier," O’Sullivan said.
In Saturday’s game started by Florida’s highly touted A.J. Puk, Singer took the mound in relief in the fifth inning and dazzled against Florida Gulf Coast in his Florida debut.
The Leesburg, Florida, native struck out his first batter with a tight-spinning slider that broke into the opposing batter’s box.
The next hitter became strikeout victim No. 2 on a 95-mph two-seam fastball on the black. A few pitches later, he induced a weak fly ball to end the inning.
As outfielders Ryan Larson and Buddy Reed trotted back into the dugout together following the inning, Larson had to say something about Singer’s performance to Reed.
"I said, ‘he’s gonna be a dude,’" Larson said.
Larson defined a ‘dude’ as someone who has control of the game and "someone who comes in and you know nothing’s gonna happen."
Larson was right.
Singer went on to twirl three hitless innings while striking out three to capture his first career win.
Besides two hit batters on a couple sliders, the composed Singer was pleased with his first outing.
"I felt good," he said. "Pulled the slider a few times, but the fastball, everything felt good."
And though his velocity dipped from its 94-95 range in his first inning down to the low 90s, Singer said he wasn’t worried. He settled down and worked on locating in the second and third innings.
"It was just maybe I had a little bit more adrenaline in the first inning," Singer said.
O’Sullivan said between the movement on his pitches and his maturity level, there aren’t a lot of freshmen in college baseball like Singer.
"He’s different," O’Sullivan said. "I’m just gonna be honest with you…He’s not a normal freshman."
Even back to watching Singer during his sophomore year at Eustis High School, O’Sullivan said Singer has always been gifted in the way he attacks the strike zone.
And O’Sullivan knows Singer will be crucial to his team’s success, whether it be out of the pen or starting.
"There’s a few guys you get every year that you go, ‘boy, if we get this guy this can really be a game changer,’" he said. "And he is. What else can I tell you?"