By Dylan Lee – Mallards Public Relations. Pitcher Rob McDonnell has been a steady arm for the Mallards this summer, holding a 5-2 record in eight starts. The 6’2”, 210-pound southpaw out of Barrington, Illinois has struck out 29 batters in 41.1 innings of work, and has given up just four runs in his past 17 innings on the mound. With a 2.83 ERA, McDonnell looks to continue his solid pitching and help lead the Mallards to a repeat of a Northwoods League Championship as the season comes into its final stretch.
When asked about his pitching this summer, McDonnell talked about the mental aspect of being on the mound, something he had not focused much on before. “Seeing the pitch before I throw it,” he says, is now part of his process before any pitch. McDonnell has held opposing batters to a .229 average so far this summer, and notes that visualization is a way for him to throw more consistently, as well as be more efficient with the pitches he throws.
He has improved upon his past season at the University of Illinois, where he held a 3.67 ERA in 27.0 innings as a junior. He gave up 11 runs on 23 hits while striking out 30 and holding batters to a .235 average, and had a perfect 4-0 record in five starts. He aims to continue to make quality starts behind the Mallards offense, and build on his pitching this summer going into his senior year at Illinois.
McDonnell says of playing in Madison, “it’s great. Best fans ever.” He enjoys signing autographs for lucky fans after a game, as well as helping grow the game of baseball for kids around the Madison area. After an eight hour bus ride home from Alexandria, Minnesota on June 23rd, where McDonnell pitched a one hitter in 5.2 innings of work against the Alexandria Blue Anchors in a 2-0 win, he and his fellow pitchers got up the next day to run a UW Health Sports Medicine Clinic For Developing Healthy Off-Speed Pitching Mechanics this morning. Even after a few hours of sleep, the quick turnaround didn’t bother McDonnell and he was happy to come out and guide young pitchers through a series of workouts. “I enjoyed it,” he said. The kids certainly enjoyed learning about the game, and importantly, the Mallards are enjoying having McDonnell and his talents in Madison this summer as the team looks to end the second half of their season strong.