The Slippery Rock University baseball team is appearing to be stuck together like glue this season. With high expectations for the rest of this season and intentions on winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), this first-year pitcher, Devin Dunn, provided insight into the true meanings of what makes the team a well-oiled machine and the impact SRU has made on him as an athlete.
As someone who is willing to put in as much work as it takes, as well as a family guy and a secret weapon on the field, Dunn has the potential for even more growth.
Dunn is a graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and former player for the Division 1 VCU Rams. This is his first year as a junior on the field and is currently majoring in safety management.
At VCU, Dunn appeared in only 26 games, but in those games, he pitched for a combined 44.1 innings. He held a 4.87 ERA and tallied 35 strikeouts. But still, while he was there, things just felt off. Just a few years after starting his collegiate career there, he would leave and look for a new home.
Slippery Rock is a place that stood out to him immediately. In talks with the SRU baseball team, he was told that his arm would complete what was an already stellar pitching staff. Even further, they had the program that Dunn wanted to study, but what really attracted him was the fact that Slippery Rock’s team was good, and he would put them over the top.
“They said that baseball here was great and Ricky Mineo needed one more good arm to get them where they need to be and another starter; I fit the role,” Dunn said.
At first, coming to Slippery Rock for another degree wasn’t exactly Dunn’s original plans. After experiencing some grievous losses, having an opportunity to be closer to his home and family, while also starting for SRU put Dunn right where he felt he belonged.
“It was a good change of scenery,” Dunn said. “My family is always supporting me at games, I like looking in the stands and seeing my parents there and giving them a thumbs up.”
The transition from VCU to The Rock has been an easy one for him. A lot of that is credited to coach Jeff Messer, who in his 30 plus years here has a lot of experience under his belt. That helped draw Dunn here.
“Coach Messer has helped shaped me as a more authentic player in a lot of ways,” Dunn said. “He listens and is very understanding to how I want to play on the field.”
Dunn was finally into the position of starting instead of coming out of the bullpen. For him, it felt a little bit weird, but once he threw his first pitch on the mound at The Rock things begin to feel normal for him again.
That’s helped him settle in to the tune of three shutouts this season up to this point. The first of which came in his first start against Davis & Elkins College. In the game, Dunn went seven innings and had 11 strikeouts.
“I was nervous at first, I had butterflies, but after the first couple innings I was all good,” Dunn said. “I was doing what I know and it felt natural.”
Dunn also has the luxury of a very good lineup behind him. With players like Connor Hamilton and Jon Kozarian hitting for The Rock, it takes pressure off of Dunn even if he does make a mistake. For Dunn, it makes things a lot easier.
“I like to call Jon Kozarian the Tasmanian Devil because he is seriously so fast,” Dunn said. “If a ball hits the shortstop, I will have zero doubt in my mind that he is making the play.”
Dunn also pitches with one of the best pitching staffs in the PSAC. It includes Luke Trueman and Mineo, who have also made a very big impact this season.
“My favorite part about playing with Trueman is that he is phenomenal on the mound and in right field.”
Overall, Dunn and The Rock baseball team have been proving why they are a force on the field. Dunn’s arrival has been one of the key pickups for this team. But, the goal remains the same and it’s simple.
“We want to win it all,” Dunn said.