Ole baseball has jumped back into the MIAC playoff picture, sweeping the nationally-ranked Bethel for its first two conference wins of the season. A major reason for this resurgence has been starting pitcher Jake Mathison ’18, who leads the team with a 2.57 ERA, holding opposing hitters to a .215 batting average. Mathison is second in the MIAC with 50 strikeouts, including eight against Bethel, when he held the Royals to five hits over seven innings. When Mathison pitches, St. Olaf is 4-2 – as he goes, they go.
Q: Is there a pitcher in the MLB who you model your mechanics or mentality after? Any other role models in your life who have made a significant impact?
A: The pitcher who I try to base my mentality after is Marcus Stroman, pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. He plays with such fire and excitement and always plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s got a confident way about him that I try to imitate and bring to the mound and the team. Second is my brother, Todd, who played for St. Olaf from ’05 to ’09. He’s taught me quite a bit about pitching and hitting, from what to throw in what counts to my hitting approach. I’m lucky to have been surrounded by a lot of baseball-minded people throughout my baseball career and here at St. Olaf that have had a huge impact on my success.
Q: What’s your go-to strikeout pitch, and how do you set it up throughout the count?
A: My go-to strikeout pitch varies depending on the team or batter, but I would say I like going to my fastball or curveball. A lot of the time I use my off-speed to get the batter off balance then try and speed them up with a fastball, but I also don’t mind going to my curveball or changeup. A lot of it depends on what’s feeling good that day.
Q: What’s your mental approach when facing a tough hitter? How about when hitting against a challenging pitcher?
A: Whenever I face a tough pitcher or hitter I just try to not overthink it or try and do too much. Just try and keep it simple and stick to my fundamentals. When hitting, all I tell myself is to simply see the ball and try and hit it hard. As for pitching, I always tell myself my stuff is better than them and just attack them with all my pitches and try to keep them off balance.