After compiling a 19-7 record with a 1.70 ERA for the San Diego State softball team her freshman year, the bar was set high for junior pitcher Bailey Micetich.
Micetich was named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year for her performance in 2009, but last season didn’t turn out quite as she had planned. Micetich endured a sophomore slump and saw her record dip to 2-5 and her ERA rise to 3.37.
But times are different now. Micetich has regained her old form and has bounced back from a sub-par 2010.
For the season, she has a 16-9 record and is sporting a 1.53 ERA. She has struck out 137 batters while only issuing 26 walks.
“It’s due to a lot of hard work I’ve been doing,” Micetich said. “I’ve had a lot of practice, daily workouts, pre-game workouts, just trying to get things to work. I worked really hard over the summer, played on a 23-and-under team, took pitching lessons. I did everything I had to do.”
Her work ethic has been noticed by head coach Kathy Van Wyk and her teammates.
“She has worked hard,” Van Wyk said. “She improved her rise and her change-up, she’s been hitting her spots, getting ahead in the count, she’s pitching quicker and it’s helping out the defense.”
“She’s grown up a lot,” sophomore catcher Kristin May said. “She improved a lot since last year, she’s really poised on the mound and is a leader out there.”
Micetich looks like a completely new pitcher compared to the slumping sophomore she was last year.
“I’m definitely more confident,” Micetich said. “I realized I was starting the season with a blank slate.”
Van Wyk has paid attention to her pitcher’s demeanor on the mound this year.
“Her body language is better this year,” Van Wyk said. “She is such a competitor, we knew it was killing her last year to be doing poorly.”
Micetich’s teammates know she has the ability to keep the Aztecs in any game.
“We’re not worried when she’s on the mound,” May said. “We just need to bring the bats.”
Her knack for keeping her team in games wasn’t more apparent than during last weekend’s two-game series against BYU.
Micetich pitched 16 innings spanning two games, gave up one run, struck out 11 and walked just two batters.
Van Wyk was especially proud of her pitcher after her 1-0 shutout of BYU last Saturday.
“I’m so proud of her for coming back strong after last year,” Van Wyk said. “She has been nails for us this year, just phenomenal.”
Micetich and the rest of the SDSU softball team, which is in first place in the Mountain West Conference with a 4-2 record, will look to stay on top of the conference standings as it plays the UNLV Rebels at 1 p.m. this Saturday at the SDSU Softball Stadium.