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In his freshman year, Radford University pitcher Tyler Costello was seated for the entire season with an injured elbow that required Tommy John surgery. For most pitchers, this is a severe setback, if not a career-hindering injury. However, Costello isn’t like most pitchers.
After the surgery, he went through months of therapy in order to fully recover and attempt a comeback in the 2012 season. His elbow eventually healed, and he was cleared to pitch.
“Rehabbing was tough. It took a while. But now it feels great. I feel 100 percent,” Costello said.
However, being on a team with over a dozen pitchers on the roster, Costello had to prove his abilities after the surgery.
After a rigorous off-season, Costello managed to find himself on the starting roster when the beginning of the season rolled around. He made his NCAA debut on Feb. 18 against Samford University. He struggled, allowing eight hits and four runs in a little over four innings of play, and was pulled from the mound. RU went on to win the game, but Costello’s play left many thinking that the injury was still lingering.
He played in his second game nearly a month later on March 4 against UNC Greensboro. This time, the results were different.
Costello pitched five innings, allowing only one run and recording three strikeouts. RU won the game, giving Costello his first win of his collegiate career.
His record stood at 1-0; he didn’t perform well enough in the first game to receive a win.
His third game ended with a similar result. In eight innings pitched, he only allowed five hits and no runs, recording three strikeouts yet again. His record improved to 2-0.
Costello continued his reign of success with three more wins against Marist College, UNC Asheville, and No. 25 Coastal Carolina University.
After the victory against Coastal Carolina, when asked about his pitching, he said, “I feel ok about it. I feel like I’m pitching really well without my best stuff. And today, again, I had my changeup working for me really well.”
Costello continued to say, “it’s always nice to have a good defense behind me and some run support from the offense.”
He currently has a 1.59 earned run average, a 5-0 record, and 16 strikeouts in a total of 39.2 innings pitched. In these innings, he’s only allowed one home run, one triple and the opposing batters have a .264 percent batting average.
Needless to say, he is more than living up to his hype. His impressive play has him at No. 44 in the country in terms of ERA and tied for third in wins.
After an extreme procedure like Tommy John surgery, the success that Costello is having is even more impressive.
“I absolutely think I’m just as good if not better. I’ve learned a lot just sitting out last year watching the game. It’s helped me learn a lot about my arm and what it takes to be a competitive pitcher,” explained Costello.
Despite his individual success, however, the Highs have struggled as a team. They have a 15-13 record, with a 4-2 record in the Big South. 25 games remain in the regular season, so steadily increasing play from their star players, such as Costello, should eventually pay off in the win column.
Expectations for the rest of the season are high despite the 15-13 record. “We should definitely give Coastal a run for their money in the Big South tournament, along with other teams. Asheville is good. We haven’t seen anybody else in the Big South, but I’m sure they’re going to be good like always,” Costello explained.
RU will play their first of a two-game series against High Point University (5-1 in Big South) on April 6 at 6 p.m.