Freshman Nick Lustrino asserts himself in the lineup.
The opening line in the chorus of the song freshman baseball infielder Nick Lustrino picked to play during his walk to the plate states, “See I know you like my swagger.”
Lustrino’s style consists of an arsenal of swagger, which has aided Lustrino’s transition from high school to the college ranks.
“The biggest transition has got to be getting used to the pitching,” Lustrino said. “When you get here you’re facing what would be every high schools No. 1 pitcher.”
The freshman has been giving opposing pitchers problems at the dish and is third on the squad with a .321 batting average. In the field, Lustrino has been even better, maintaining a perfect fielding percentage while playing five different positions: Catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, and third base on the field in 12 starts.
While at Richmond, first-year coach Ryan Wheeler was attempting to lure Lustrino to his former club, but now finds himself having the luxury of coaching the utility player in a Cherry and White uniform.
“I knew he belonged [at Temple],” Wheeler said. “He had that confidence, I saw that swagger in him and knew he could do it.”
The move to Temple looks to be working out perfectly for not just coach Wheeler, but Lustrino as well.
“The reason I came [to Temple] is because it’s different,” Lustrino said. “Where I’m from is kind of like a bubble, a lot of people call it a bubble. I wanted to get out and experience it a little bit and I haven’t looked back since.”
Teammates are beginning to notice that Lustrino can make an impact on the field.
“[Lustrino] is a great addition to this team,” said redshirt-senior infielder and pitcher Steve Nikorak. “You can put him anywhere on the field. Put him behind the plate and he’ll catch a game for you. You can put him in the middle infield, or put him on the corners. He’s just really versatile and confident as a freshman.”
“[Lustrino] is not your usual freshman who comes in and plays tentative,” Nikorak added. “He goes out there and works hard every day and he’s good at what he does.”
Seeing time at various positions isn’t a rarity in baseball, but playing as many as five positions is rare. Lustrino’s early dominance on the field puts ranks him as one of the best in fielding percentage on the roster, converting on all 97 of his chances defensively thus far.
The transition from high school baseball to college this season has been somewhat of a non-issue for Listrino. Even as a freshman, Lustrino fits right in and looks to be a mainstay with the baseball program.
“I knew [Lustrino] was ready to play opening day,” Wheeler said. “I saw the way he was practicing and going about his business and how he had made the adjustment from high school to college baseball.”
Chase Senior can be reached at email@example.com.