Even though wins have been hard to come by in the last few seasons for the Mines baseball team, that hasn’t stopped Junior pitcher Mike Fuller from finding success. Fuller, a petroleum engineer from Parker, Colorado, is entering his first season as a starting pitcher, and has quickly proven his worth. After starting six games, Fuller is currently tied for the team lead in wins with three, is second on the team in strikeouts with 26 and is the only Oredigger pitcher to hold his opponents batting average to under .300 at .292. During a March 20 game against RMAC rival Mesa State, Fuller tossed a two hit, complete game shutout en route to a 2-0 Mines win. The feat was only the sixth complete game shutout by an Oredigger in the last nine years, and none of the previous five had come against as formidable an opponent as Mesa State.
For his performance, Fuller was awarded RMAC Pitcher of the Week and NCBWA Division II National Pitcher of the Week honors. It’s a far cry from the season before, when Fuller only made eight appearances from the bulpen and did not factor into any decision. But what excites the Junior isn’t his personal successes, but the progress the entire team is making and the future they have ahead of them. “[Head coach Otis] is starting to put together a great program here. We prepare as hard as any other team out there and it’s giving us a good shot to win games. We’ve already beaten Mesa, and are doing better against Kearney and some other good teams.” Mines is currently on a three game winning streak and will need Fuller to continue his solid pitching as they head into the heart of conference play. For his efforts and performance this year, Mike Fuller is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] Baseball teams play more games during the regular season than anyone else. How do you remain sharp and focused?
[Fuller] Baseball players are used to the routine. Even back to when you play as a little kid, you have a bunch of games every weekend, so it’s something you kind of get used to. And at the end of the day, it just playing baseball, and doing something you love.
What has it been like to transition from the bulpen to being a starter?
[Being a starter] has always been something I’ve been working towards, but it’s not as much of a pressure-packed situation as coming out of the bulpen.
Do you follow professional baseball? Who is your favorite team?
I’m from Colorado and I like the Rockies. They definitely have a good team, with good pitching and solid defense. I love watching and want to try to get out to as many games as I can this year.
What do you like to do in your free time? (If such a thing exists)
I like to go to Rockies games, but I like to play videogames and just hang out with friends too. I try to enjoy what little free time I have.
What is your favorite part about being on the baseball team?
Baseball is definitely like my core group of friends. We’re a pretty tight nit group. It’s great for when you come right into college and have an immediate group of friends that you can get to know and hang out with.
What is your favorite baseball memory that you have been a part of?
The game against Mesa. A lot went into that game, and Mines hadn’t beaten Mesa in a really long time. It was a good achievement.
Why did you decide to major in Petroleum Engineering?
My dad and grandpa have been involved in oil and they go way back. I started taking petroleum classes and thought they were pretty interesting.
What would you change about Mines?
I would add more hours in the day to get stuff done.
Favorite part about Mines?
I love the face that you never know what you are going to get, or what you’re going to see. It’s never boring.