Before the 2019 season started, sophomore Colby Dunlop was all but slotted into the Sunday starting spot following Mason Feole and Jeffrey Kersten, who solidified their spots the year before.
Fast forward to UConn’s Week Four series at Texas State and he was sitting at home on the couch. He started against Louisville and gave up eight hits and nine earned runs in a blowout loss, then faced College of Charleston and gave up six hits and was pulled after just three innings.
“Early on, that start against Louisville and even against College of Charleston, we weren’t seeing the guy we saw in the preseason and the guy that we see practice against us, that made it so hard for us to hit,” pitching coach John MacDonald said.
So Dunlop stayed back in Storrs for a week during UConn’s series against Texas State to “get back in the shop,” as MacDonald put it.
“When I just throw fastballs it’s really not hard for teams to capitalize and that’s what [they] did,” Dunlop said.
Whatever voodoo UConn’s coaching staff performed that weekend worked perfectly. Dunlop came out of that weekend guns blazing. He pitched an inning of relief against Michigan State and the coaches liked what they saw, so they slotted him in as a weekday starter vs. Virginia. Dunlop excelled there too, pitching a season-high 5.1 innings, allowing just two hits, one earned run and one walk.
Since that weekend in the shop, Dunlop has tallied a 1.53 ERA, an insane 3:1 K/BB ratio, and allowed just a .79 WHIP. He’s been lights out for UConn, a valuable piece of the rotation when every game is essential to earning the right to host an NCAA regional.
Dunlop pitched well on Wednesday afternoon as well, going five innings and allowing just two earned runs. His fastball confounded UMass Lowell batters with sinking action, and his breaking ball was falling into place as well. He did give up four hits, but was able to keep things under control, earning the win.
“I felt pretty good. I didn’t have my best stuff today, but I feel like I competed pretty well and got a good result,” Dunlop said.
With a full day of work on Wednesday, Dunlop is unlikely to pitch this weekend in UConn’s first series at Dunkin Donuts Park. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t excited for the Huskies’ first weekend of games in the capital city.
“It’s a fun time, I didn’t get a chance to pitch there last year, probably won’t get a chance to pitch there this year, but I’m looking forward to next year,” Dunlop said.
Luke Swanson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.