Last season, the Webster University men’s baseball team had one of their best seasons in school history. They finished with an overall record of 37–6 and completed the perfect season in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) with an undefeated record of 26–0. They were also ranked no. 1 in a poll conducted by d3baseball.com for the first time.
As the team’s success continued, so did the progression of sophomore pitcher Matt Goro. He made strides over the last two seasons and earned his first start with the team on March 30 against Concordia University.
In that game he pitched a shutout, struck out six batters and led his team to a 1-0 victory. Goro said it felt great that his performances as a relief pitcher helped to earn him a spot in the starting rotation.
In his first season with the team last year, Goro showed the ability to adjust quickly on an already successful team.
He finished the season with an opposing batting average of .189 and an earned run average of 1.80, finishing second on the team. Goro said he worked on his pitching in the bullpen to make sure he was able to hold his own when facing some of the SLIAC’s best hitters.
He also credited much of his success to the support of the coaching staff and his teammates. He said they were behind him 100 percent throughout the season, and he appreciated it.
“I really have great coaching and good teammates that believe in me whenever I go out there,” Goro said. “Whenever you have your best buddies out there on the field behind you and believing in you, I think it’s pretty easy for you to just go out there and do your thing.”
Head Coach Bill Kurich was excited by the way Goro excelled in his first season. He said he was impressed that Goro stepped up against opposing batters with the confidence to wear them down.
“Matt (Goro) is a strike -throwing machine,” Kurich said. “He’s got great command of his fastball and really all of his pitches. Despite not being a high-velocity guy, he still commands the strike zone well by being able to throw a good curveball and an outstanding changeup, so he’s a very valuable guy for us. He had a great year for us last year, and he’s improved dramatically this year.”
Goro’s success has translated well from last season to this season. The team is currently 15-8, and Kurich said Goro has played a huge role in their wins. He has pitched 23 innings and improved his earned run average to 0.78.
Goro uses a variety of pitches like his slider, curveball and fastball, but he said his most effective pitch — and the one he feels the most comfortable with — is his changeup.
“It’s a good mix up with the fastball, and it definitely works well when going against different batters,” Goro said.
A change-up is designed to look like a fastball by keeping the same arm speed but arrives at the plate much more slowly.
Another element Goro says has helped him is the work he has put in with teammate Zach Allam, the team’s catcher.
In baseball, the pitcher and catcher tend to have a close relationship on the field because of the way they have to communicate plays. Goro and Allam are no different. Goro said developing a bond with Allam on and off the field has helped them become better teammates.
“It’s really the off-the-field stuff that’s helped us get along well,” he said. “You spend so much time off the field training and hanging out and everything that after a while, developing a friendship and having (Allam) do things like come out to the mound and calm me down when I’m not having my best game just comes natural.”
Allam echoed similar sentiments about his close friend and teammate.
“We absolutely developed a good relationship. Being in the bullpen, I get to spend a lot of time with Matt (Goro) as well as other pitchers,” Allam said. “At first Matt was just a backup guy in the bullpen like me, but he has come back this year and has really dominated when he’s stepped up to the mound. He and I are obviously really good friends, we got a really good group of guys and we have really good communication in games.”