On the mound

An interview with Patriots’ pitcher Zach Mort

By Domenic Allegra, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, April 11, the Patriots (14-17) fell to the James Madison Dukes (16-16) by a score of 2-1.

The Patriots are 11-4 at home this season but have struggled at away games with a record of 2-7. The Patriots have one goal in mind for this season: to win the Atlantic 10 Championship.

After the game, Fourth Estate caught up with Junior pitcher Zach Mort. The two-time A10 Pitcher of the Week from Chesterfield, Virginia is 3-1 on the season, striking out 71 batters while maintaining a 1.73 ERA.

“Every Friday we go into a series knowing what we’re going to get,” said Head Coach Bill Brown. “We’re going to get a great pitching performance from Zach, and he’s going to take us deep into the game, and we’re always going to have a chance to win the second he walks on to the mound.”

Mort has come a long way from his tee-ball days, and he thanks his role models for developing him into the player he is today.

Mort said the professional player he looks up to would be Sean Marshall from the Cubs. “He was an old lefty pitcher,” said Mort. But overall, he stated, “my dad always preached hard work and helped me become who I am today, so he has obviously been a huge role model for me.”

When asked about what he enjoys most about playing baseball, he responded, “definitely the atmosphere…the teammates…going out there and competing in competitions. Winning itself is fun, but you get to share it with all your guys and your teammates. It’s a big enjoyment.”

Mort said that when it comes down to how he has contributed to the program, “I think every time I go out there, I try to put myself in the position where I can give the team the best chance to win. Every time I go out there I’m competing, and I try to work hard to compete.”

He credits his coaches with teaching him about mentality on the mound.

“It’s something that me and Coach [Pugh] have been talking about a lot recently,” Mort said. “Just preaching the mental game, getting inside your mind and telling yourself to calm down, telling yourself to control the game.”

Coach Brown added that “Zach always been an impact guy for us from the day he came in… as a freshman…he was our closer and then he evolved into a starter…this year he has really come into his own and he has become one of the, if not the, top pitcher in the A10.”

When asked about the best baseball advice he was ever given, Mort once again recalled his father. “[He] said, ‘throw hard.’ [It’s] short and to the point, I always liked that.”

“It’s nice to be rewarded for hard work that I put in, but I’m lying if I say that this is what I go out there for…I mean… you go out there and I try to give my team the best chance to win, so the awards are something secondary that I cherish,” Mort reflected.

When asked what the season highlight for the team would be, he cited two games against NC State and Louisville.

“I think right now those are the two highlights of the year, even though we lost, we saw what we can do basically as a team, we can go out there and compete with those bigger level schools.”

Looking forward, Mort wishes to continue playing baseball professionally after college. “[That’s] the goal, absolutely,” he said. “If I’m given the opportunity I definitely want to play professional baseball.”

“We’ve had some… other guys who have pitched in the big leagues, but Zach is kinda special ‘on his own type’ guy,” said Coach Brown. “With what he throws, and how he throws…he really is a stand alone guy.”

After the next series with the Georgetown Hoyas on April 13-15, the next home game will be on April 25 at 3pm against Mount St. Mary’s.

Photos Courtesy of Mason Athletics