Cavalier Corner

June 2017

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cavalier profile TOMMY DOYLE Third-Year • Baseball Third-year right-handed pitcher Tommy Doyle faced a difficult decision in the spring of 2014 when he was drafted in the 35th round by the Washington Nationals. "It was a very humbling experience to be drafted by them because I'm a Nats fan," Doyle said. "Midway through the spring of my senior year I talked with my parents and decided since I was 17 it would be best to attend school. "Having an education under my belt, whether it was three years or a full bachelor's, was best for me and my family." Doyle faced another decision during his second-year campaign when he was struggling as a starter for Virginia, and head coach Brian O'Connor and pitching coach Karl Kuhn approached him about changing his role on the team. "I began my sophomore year as a Sunday starter," Doyle said. "Midway through the season I wasn't doing well. Coach O'Connor and Coach Kuhn asked me if I wanted to close. I said I wasn't helping out, so I'd try anything in order to help the team. "They decided to move me into the closer's role." Fast-forward to this season and that move resembles a stroke of genius. Through May 22, the 6-6, 235-pounder was 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA and 13 saves, which tied for the second most in the ACC. In addition, he had fanned 35 bat- ters and only walked eight in 32 1 ⁄3 innings. "I went into it with an open mind based on the fact I wasn't pitching well," said Doyle, who was named third-team All-ACC. "From the start, it was a drastic transformation. I had never closed before. I said 'They trust me enough to put me in at the end of a game so let's see if I have the stuff.' "It turned my season around." Doyle's stuff includes a low-90s fastball, a mid-80s slider, a curveball that he considers to be his "out pitch" and an occasional changeup. "Coach O'Connor and Coach Kuhn know what kind of talent they have and how it can have the biggest impact on the team," Doyle said. "They know where each person can make the biggest impact, and I'm embracing the role." — Mike Scandura ◆ Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVA 30 ◆ CAVALIER CORNER

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