Pitching help on the way for Tigers in submariner Bo Gobin
|Saturday, June 11, 2016, 9:56 AM- -|
Clemson baseball's newest pitching signee relies on getting ahead of batters in the count. So it stands to reason that he's using that same mindset to get ahead in life – by enrolling in summer school less than a month after committing to the Tigers.
Michael “Bo” Gobin, a right-handed ace who helped lead Summerville High to the S.C. Class AAAA state title, plans to move to Clemson this month to begin his college studies as well as the team's weightlifting program. TigerNet spoke by phone with Gobin recently as he and his teammates were returning from the Statehouse in Columbia, where they were saluted by lawmakers.
It was just one of numerous accolades Gobin is fielding after a 9-1 campaign in which he compiled a 0.68 ERA while giving up only seven earned runs, 16 walks and 35 hits and notching 76 strikeouts. He was named to the North/South All-Star Team, and Summerville head baseball coach Banks Faulkner has nominated him for the High School All-American Team.
“I really rely on getting ahead,” Gobin said. “I try not to walk a lot of people, because the more people I put on base, the more pressure I put on myself. I just like to let guys hit the ball – I mean, the numbers show that if you're a good hitter, you hit the ball three times out of 10. So that's seven times you're gonna get out. And as a pitcher, that's your goal – to get outs.”
Getting outs is what Gobin does best, Faulkner said.
“He just wins. He gets outs,” the Green Wave coach told TigerNet recently. “He throws a bunch of strikes. And he just competes. He's just a kid who every time he gets on the mound, he's going to go compete.”
The 5-foot-11 Gobin pitches at about 78 mph, Faulkner said, “but he sinks it, and he's got a little Frisbee that he throws, a little slider that's a pretty good little swing-and-miss pitch for him. But that's the biggest thing – he's just a kid that gets outs, and he just competes.”
For his part, Gobin said he just tries to work the strike zone, stay calm and let his defense work.
“I like to think I have a really good mindset, a really good composure when it comes to things,” Gobin said. “No matter how tough the situation is, I think my coaches have prepared me for it, and I can get out of the situation no matter what.”
Before settling into his role as the Green Wave's primary starter, Gobin was the team's main closer during his junior season.
“And I loved doing that,” he said. “There's no better feeling than the adrenaline rush you get trying to get those last three outs and closing the game for your team.”
Gobin's decision to begin college immediately is remarkable considering that less than a month ago, he was still undecided on his ultimate destination. (He committed to Clemson on May 26.) He said he didn't grow up as a Tiger fan – never attended a Clemson football or baseball game. After initially committing to The Citadel, he decommitted after the state championship, to explore his options. Midway through his stellar season, the University of South Carolina had begun showing some interest as well, he said.
But after just one visit to Clemson, the decision became an easy one.
“I just fell in love with the campus,” said Gobin, who had visited South Carolina but couldn't picture himself thriving in Columbia's urban environment.
“I'm not really a city kind of guy – I like a hometown where I'll know a lot of people,” he said. “I felt like I could definitely live here (in Clemson) – this could be my home. It just felt comfortable – it just felt right.”
Gobin said while he knew Clemson head coach Monte Lee from Lee's time at the College of Charleston, the two had never spoken at length until recently. Gobin said the entire Clemson coaching staff left an immediate and lasting impression on him.
“They've got a hold on things,” he said. “They know what they're doing, and I trust every single one of them.”
Gobin has a been a star in the classroom as well, taking Advanced Placement courses, scoring high on the SAT and finishing in the top 10 percent of his class, Faulkner said. Gobin said an uncle, a Clemson alum, has helped him consider prospective majors, and for now he plans to study retail management while pursuing a business minor.
“He's the type of kid who, as a coach, you're just happy to see good things happen to him,” Faulkner said. “I can't say a bad word about him – he's just an awesome young man.”
Gobin said he enjoyed watching the Tigers' recent title run in the ACC Tournament, and he recalled being in a situation similar to the rain-delayed marathon championship. There was a game when he and his teammates also had to contend with a lot of idle time. Momentum is key in baseball, he said – which is why he prefers to stay ahead of batters.
“I used to play second (base), and there's nothing worse than standing on second and watching batters get walks,” he said. “That's what causes errors. I just like to get ahead, establish the fast ball and limit the free bases.”
Gobin is a “submarine pitcher” who releases the ball from a lower angle. He said while he throws a good fastball slider and has recently developed a good changeup, he relies on his fastball, which nets him a lot of outs.
“My fastball has a lot of sink on it – I get a lot of ground balls,” he said. “They miss with the barrel.”
Faulkner said he believes Gobin's ability to produce outs, particularly versus right-handed hitters, is what attracted Clemson. And the coach, a devoted Tiger fan, couldn't be more thrilled with his star pitcher's choice of universities.
“He's a winner – that's what I tell everybody about him,” Faulkner said. “He's one of the best pitchers I've ever coached. He's a kid that's got incredible makeup and character. He comes from a great family; he's a great teammate. He's just a top-notch young man that I have no doubt in my mind is going to be somebody who helps Clemson win a lot of games. And I have no doubt he'll be very successful up there.”