Junior pitcher Jimmy Devine joined the baseball team from Duquesne.
Junior transfer pitcher Jimmy Devine only had to travel five hours from Pittsburgh to land in the Owls’ bullpen this season to continue his collegiate baseball career after previously pitching for Duquesne.
In a strategic restructuring of its varsity sports program, Duquesne announced on Jan. 25, 2010, that it would discontinue its baseball program, along with men’s swimming, men’s golf and wrestling. The decision to eliminate the sports was made in order to “maximize financial resources and ensure sustained athletic success,” according to a press release issued by the department of athletics.
Student-athletes affected by the cuts would still be able to receive their respective athletic scholarship offers for a period equal to their remaining eligibility or completion of their undergraduate degree. The office of compliance assisted those athletes who chose to transfer.
“[The athletic department] just called us in one day out of nowhere,” Devine said. “We just got back from Christmas break … and right then, it was like, ‘We got to find some place to play,’ and [Temple] was the first school to contact me.”
Coach Rob Valli said he remembered receiving an email from Duquesne’s athletic department, which was sent out to “basically every school in the country,” that informed coaches they may contact and recruit the players.
“We contacted Jimmy and another player right away,” Valli said referring to sophomore pitcher Robert Corsi. “[Corsi] ended up going to Rutgers and Jimmy pretty much made up his mind to come with us pretty quickly.”
Devine said part of his quick decision was thanks to junior designated hitter Taylor Juran, who was on his summer and fall travel team in Pittsburgh. Devine and Juran played together as juniors and seniors in high school for the Steel City Wildcats in the 18-and-under Western Pennsylvania Elite Baseball League.
“[Juran] helped with the recruiting process, and I came [to Temple] and met everybody and the coaches,” Devine said. “It just seemed like this was a good place to be.”
In the Dukes’ final home series, for its program, which originated back in 1888, they faced the Owls and won two of the three games. Both Temple and Duquesne finished the 2010 season 10-17 in the Atlantic Ten Conference and missed qualifying for the conference playoffs.
Over the two years Devine pitched for Duquesne, he appeared in a total of 30 games and made nine starts. In his last season, he compiled about 34 innings and had a 0-4 record with an 11.94 ERA.
“We’ve watched him play for a couple years, and he didn’t have a tremendous amount of success, but you could always see it coming,” Valli said of recruiting Devine. “He was a great student, so academically, it was a no-brainer.”
Remaining in the same conference was important to Devine, but he noted being only five hours from home was also a positive aspect. Devine completed the move to Temple and said he was able to get to know his new teammates soon after.
“Everyone on the team welcomed me,” Devine said. “I moved into a house right away with a lot of the guys, and that made it a lot easier getting to know everybody.”
Devine made his first appearance in a Cherry and White uniform during the Owls’ second game of the North Carolina Central series on Feb. 19, which resulted in a 30-10 rout. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and struck out four in relief, as he picked up his first collegiate win.
“He’s been outstanding so far,” Valli said. “He always had a pretty good fastball, but he didn’t always know where it was going. Now he’s figuring out how to make those in-game mechanical adjustments to stay aggressive in the zone.”
His first start for Temple came in the home-opener with Maryland Eastern Shore on March 9, when he pitched six innings, allowing one hit and one unearned run in the 14-1 victory. In the outing, Devine struck out a career-high nine batters.
This season Devine has posted 20 total strikeouts, compared to the 25 he recorded last year. He currently holds a 2 ERA, the lowest among pitchers on the team, with a 3-1 record, while allowing four earned runs with 18 innings of work.
“His statistics are now matching up to the type of stuff that he has,” Valli said. “He’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Devine said he is content with his decision to transfer to Temple and how the whole transition played out.
“I’m happy with how I’m doing right now,” Devine said. “I hope to continue pitching well. I’m definitely excited. It’s probably the best team I’ve been on so far in my college career.”
Devine made his second start against Penn on March 15 at home, in which he lasted seven innings and surrendered two earned runs. The 14-3 win marked the Owls’ six-straight of the season and Devine’s third.
“[The coaches] expect a lot because I am a junior now,” Devine said. “They gave me a second shot to keep playing, and they expect a lot and believed in me, so I’m just happy to be here and happy to keep playing college baseball.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at email@example.com.