One of the most dominant pitchers in the country felt so much pain in his left shoulder a couple of months ago that he couldn’t even pick up his arm.
Bryan Radziewski feels so much better that at times it appears as if he is hoisting the struggling Hurricanes on his surgically repaired shoulder.
Radziewski, a 5-10, 195-pound junior, is 7-1 and ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a brilliant 0.95 ERA. Batters are hitting just .148 against him, and he has 73 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings, including 16 in a gem against Virginia Tech.
“God really got me through this,” said Radziewski, who had shoulder surgery in April 2012, couldn’t pick up a ball until August and suffered a “dead-arm” setback in February. “There was a lot of prayer.”
Unfortunately for Radziewski, his season has been a lot better than what the Canes (29-18, 11-13 ACC) have managed as a team.
The Canes are coming off — what Radziewski calls — an “embarrassing” series at Boston College, where they lost two of three games against a team which was previously 0-20 in the ACC.
“No disrespect to BC, but we were in shock,” Radziewski said. “We hit rock bottom. But that’s good because there is nowhere to go from here but up.”
The Canes hope that climb begins Friday when Miami hosts St. John’s (20-27) in a three-game nonconference series. Radziewski will pitch Saturday.
With just nine games left in the regular season, Miami has some work to do if it wants to extend its NCAA-record streak of 40 consecutive years qualifying for regional play.
After St. John’s, the Canes travel to Wake Forest for three games and then end their regular season by hosting Georgia Tech for three more.
The biggest problem has been the offense. The Canes are next-to-last in the ACC in runs scored and dead last in homers with just eight. To put it in perspective, the Canes have played one more game than ACC power North Carolina, yet they have scored 133 fewer runs.
That puts a lot of pressure on Miami’s stellar rotation, comprised entirely of left-handers who played high school ball at Miami private schools — Radziewski (Florida Christian), Chris Diaz (Gulliver) and Andrew Suarez (Columbus).
Radziewski has responded to the pressure, even though his fastball, which was clocked at 89 to 92 mph before surgery, is now routinely sitting at 85 to 86.
He’s learned to locate his pitches, and he said he has more movement now than ever.
“Hopefully, my velocity will return in time,” he said. “But I feel 100 times better now than I did in February.”
Eight UM student-athletes will be honored prior to Saturday’s baseball game. Standout point guard Shane Larkin and Morgan Stroman will be recognized as most outstanding athletes. The other honorees: Running back Mike James and Maria Brown for community service, AJ Salcines and Nrithya Sundararaman as scholar athletes, and Bassim El-Sabawi and Kara McCormick as underclassman scholars of the year.