OLEAN, NY - Impressive isn’t the word for the start St. Bonaventure starting pitcher Aaron Phillips has gotten off to in this year’s New York Collegiate Baseball League season. In three starts for the Olean Oilers, Phillips has yet to surrender a single run and has picked up three wins.
Phillips threw nine innings this week in a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits. Thus far this season, he has tossed 22 innings, racking up 14 strikeouts while giving up just six walks and 12 hits.
“I’m just trying to get ahead of hitters and not give anything away for free," he said. "It’s a lot tougher to win when you have to get three hits in a row, so that’s what we try to do.”
Phillips admits that he takes it a little personal when he has runners on base.
“With runners in scoring position it becomes a pride thing," he said. "I don’t want my team to have to go make up a run that I gave up. The goal is for my ERA to remain at zero for as long as possible.”
As outstanding as Phillips has been on the mound, his approach at the plate has been this season’s biggest surprise. In 14 games, he has 18 hits and a staggering 20 RBI and two home runs, which is already two more than he hit last season.
“The biggest change I’ve made is playing with confidence," he said. "I’ve tried to carry my approach from spring into the summer season and not give any bats away. It’s a long season, and everyone goes through tough stretches, but I’ve found that if I take one bat at a time I can be much more successful.”
As for the team, the Oilers have started off 13-1. The team has looked dominant at times and has beaten every team on its schedule thus far.
“What makes us as dominant as a team is that we have the mindset that we are going to go out and win every game,” said Phillips. “Our pitchers keep us in every game until our offense figures out our opposition. The difference is we take care of things defensively and don’t give anything away for free while capitalizing on opportunities we get.”
Phillips said he was unaware of the weekly honors. He added that it “does feel good to get off to a good start. Our team is playing great baseball, and it makes going to the park fun every single day.”