Gabe Mosser and the Shippensburg University baseball team are looking to carry over their success from last season into the upcoming season.
Last season was different for Mosser after overcoming a slow start, as the Raiders rebounded to finish 31-24-1. Mosser’s second-half surge on the mound was a huge reason why.
Going into the 2017 season, Mosser had not shown himself to be one of SU’s best pitchers. Through a combined 25 appearances (13 starts), Mosser compiled a 7-7 record to go with a 6.99 ERA. He was struggling to find his groove on the mound, and his struggles continued into last season.
Mosser began the 2017 campaign similar to how he had pitched his first two seasons. In his first four starts, Mosser went 1-3 with a five-run ERA. However, something clicked for the junior on the mound.
Mosser began to dominate games from the mound and the Raiders took advantage. Through Mosser’s final nine games of the season, he went 7-2 with a 1.92 ERA. He was striking out batters at a higher rate, totaling 62 strikeouts in his final nine games, and walking batters at a lower rate, only 16 walks allowed in his final nine games, than when he was struggling earlier in the season.
“I think just getting healthy was my biggest thing, and gaining some weight,” Mosser said. “Mentally, I was more focused on and off the field so I think that was the biggest key to success my junior year.”
Mosser emphasized an increase in the work and preparation that he does going into games as being key to his revival in his junior year.
“I just think mentally I made a switch and I worked a little harder off the field,” Mosser said. “Preparing myself for those games, knowing the hitters and studying them, that was the biggest thing.”
The Raiders, led by the efforts of star pitcher Mosser, made it to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Baseball Championships. The team has not been able to get past this stage in Mosser’s time on the team, but this year was different.
Coach Matt Jones chose to put Mosser out on the mound for the opening game against Slippery Rock University. Mosser went to work and dominated on the mound. He threw a complete game while allowing only two runs, leading Shippensburg to a key win in the PSAC Baseball Championships.
Jones knew how important the opening game of the PSAC Baseball Championships was, and that’s why he went to his best pitcher to get the win.
“It was an honor just to be out there, and to have Coach Jones call my name and say I’ll be starting the first game and hopefully getting us off on the right foot,” Mosser said. “That was a big achievement and a great accomplishment.”
The win against Slippery Rock was Shippensburg’s first in the PSAC Baseball Championships since 2012. The Raiders went on to advance to the NCAA Atlantic Region Championships for the first time since 2013.
After losing their first game in the Regional Championships, the Raiders needed a win to stay alive. Jones went to Mosser on the mound, and he answered with another good performance.
Mosser earned the win by pitching five innings and allowing two runs.
Mosser had the best season of his career, going 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA and was rewarded by being named to the 2017 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-Atlantic Region Team.
“It’s an honor. The competition is just phenomenal around Division II, in the PSAC and in our region. It’s a great honor to be recognized with them,” Mosser said.
The Raiders made progress last season, advancing all the way to the NCAA Atlantic Region Championships.
The competition gave the team experience in a playoff atmosphere, something that they hope will help them in 2018.
“We have been working all fall, and ever since we’ve been back, we have been grinding. We’ve been wanting to get back there,” Mosser said. “It was a great opportunity for us last year to gain experience. I think it’s going to help us because we didn’t lose many guys, we lost some key roles, but we got some guys stepping in. We are excited as a team to get back to regionals.”
The Raiders will look to continue their success from last season, and another dominant season by Mosser would certainly help them reach beyond where they were at last season. However, individual statistics aren’t the goal of Mosser, who, as a senior, is in his final season with Shippensburg.
“Contribute to the team and get as many wins as we can,” Mosser said.
Mosser started the first game of the 2018 season for the Raiders, recording six strikeouts in four innings of work against Catawba, but the team lost the game 11–2.