Miami Marlins’ Christian Yelich angered, saddened by death of schoolmate in California shooting rampage

05/26/2014 12:01 AM

07/31/2014 5:15 PM

Christian Yelich didn’t know Veronika Weiss, one of the victims in Friday’s shooting rampage at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

But he could identify with her, and her death hit home.

Yelich and Weiss each attended Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, California, at the same time. Yelich was a senior when Weiss was a freshman, and both were involved in athletics.

“Usually you don’t really know people from tragedies, or it never happens in your hometown,” Yelich said. “Unfortunately, it happened to her.”

Yelich said he found out about the shooting Saturday through social media.

“I know a lot of people who go to UC-Santa Barbara and texted my friends who are up there after I heard about it to make sure they were all right,” he said. “It’s scary.”

Yelich said he was alerted to Weiss’s death from friends on Twitter and Facebook.

“People I follow who are friends with her were posting stuff about it,” Yelich said. “I saw it and thought that’s a shame. It’s really unfortunate, really sad.

“It kind of puts everything in perspective. She did nothing wrong. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It makes me mad. It makes me really mad.”

Nervous closer

If he continues to receive save assignments before the ninth inning, as he did on Saturday when he was summoned with two outs in the eighth, Steve Cishek may have to refine the way he prepares mentally.

Otherwise, he could turn into a basket case.

Cishek refuses to sit down for more than a few seconds the rare times he’s inside the dugout between innings. He’s standing up, pacing and thinking about who he’ll be facing when he heads back to the mound for the ninth.

“That’s how I stay focused,” Cishek said. “I feel like I kind of lose some adrenalin just sitting down. I feel like if I’m sitting around, I become lethargic. When I was first coming up [through the minors], coaches would say, “Just sit down and chill.’ ”

On Saturday, after striking out Scooter Gennett to end the eighth, Cishek said he paced the dugout before heading into the clubhouse and knocking down a Red Bull to fuel his competitive juices.

“If I’m pacing around, I’m kind of daydreaming about the next three guys I’m about to face,” he said.

Cishek delivered a 1-2-3 ninth for his 10th save overall, and the second of the season requiring him to pitch more than one inning.

There have been 22 saves recorded this season in the majors requiring four or more outs, and Cishek is one of only three pitchers who have done it more than once. The Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal and Yankees’ David Robertson have also recorded multiple-inning saves.

Clutch Baker

Jeff Baker is still limited to a pinch-hitting role due to a bruised right shoulder. But he’s making the most of it. Baker came through with pinch-hits on Saturday and Friday, one day after an errant throw from Henderson Alvarez led to a collision with the Phillies’ Domonic Brown.

Baker’s pinch-hit single in Saturday’s seventh inning drove in what proved to be the deciding run in the Marlins’ 2-1 victory over the Brewers.

“It’s getting better, slowly but surely,” Baker said of his shoulder. “I’m fine swinging the bat. It’s just right now, it’s throwing. We threw a little bit today, but I still have a little bit to go. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I can do everything.”

Baker is 4 for 11 this season as a pinch-hitter.

COMING UP

•  Monday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (3-2, 3.41) at Washington Nationals RHP Tanner Roark (3-2, 3.42), 1:35 p.m., Nationals Park.
•  Tuesday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-3, 3.21) at Nationals RHP Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.56), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

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