Andres opening after closing gig

By Brian Earle

In his first three seasons, senior pitcher Anthony Andres had only been used out of the Huskies’ bullpen, never once making a start on the mound.

That all changed when Andres made his first collegiate start as a Huskie March 11 against Cal Poly, which was the first start he made since his high school days at St. Rita. Since then, the Western Springs native has become a fixture in the Huskies’ starting rotation, starting on the bump every Friday in each conference series opener.

“I love starting,” Andres said. “I loved starting in high school. Coming here I got used to throwing out of the bullpen, and I really wanted to start last year but almost didn’t get the opportunity. This year I finally got the opportunity and I’m taking full advantage of it.”

This season, Andres has started six games for the Huskies and leads the Huskies’ pitching staff with three wins. Of all the starters, he has posted the lowest earned run average at 3.30 runs allowed per game, surrendering just 16 total earned runs.

“For me, the big thing is mixing up pitches, doing off-speed and also throwing off your fastball,” Andres said. “I also incorporated this new pitch; it’s called the throttle fast ball, which looks identical to a fastball. It’s just slower. You slow your body down, you slow your arm down, and it throws the hitters really off balance. That’s really what’s been working for me, is changing speeds and changing pitches and being able to locate.”

The biggest adjustment for Andres in switching from pitching in relief to starting games has been the workload he is faced with. This season, he has already pitched a single-season career-high 43.2 innings with possibly six more starts to go.

“One of the biggest things for me was just having your body conditioned well,” Andres said. “Bullpen, usually you’re throwing sometimes two, sometimes three times a weekend. With starting you almost have to prepare yourself for one day, and you’re throwing close to 120 pitches every single time you go out there, so your body has to be in good shape. You have to be able to pitch a lot of innings and go farther into the games.”

Being named a starter has changed Andres’ mindset and approach on the mound because he wants to make it deep into ballgames, so he can’t wear his arm out too early.

“Out of the bullpen you can almost go full out,” Andres said. “When you’re starting you have to kind of ease into it, kind of save your energy toward the later innings of the game, so your mindset is like, ‘All right, I can’t use everything now.’ I have to save it and … save my pitches for later on when I need to get hitters out, and you can’t burn yourself out quickly.”