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COLUMBUS, Ohio – David Fathalikhani walked on to this team three years ago as a catcher…a catcher! He doesn’t lug heavy catcher’s equipment around anymore, though. No need to jeopardize his throwing skills that have become wonderfully nasty over the past year as he has successfully made the transition to trusted and respected relief pitcher for the Buckeyes. On a day he struck out the side in his one inning against Northwestern, David shared some thoughts on his new role.   

For me, perseverance and hard work are paying off.I see the freshmen now working hard to get on the field. I tell them you never know when the opportunity will arise, and all you can do is prepare for it.

It’s different being a Buckeye now, in comparison to other years. And it’s cool knowing you are going to play an important role in games and contribute to wins.

When I came into the program I never figured I’d be pitching.Now it is a matter of preparing yourself physically and mentally to make the most of your opportunity.

I didn’t pitch in high school. I pitched some for my summer league team and after my freshman year here I threw in the summer a bit. But I never seriously pitched until last year.

I played first base my junior and senior years of high school. I had always caught growing up and then I caught the summer of my senior year knowing I was going to try and walk on here. I always considered myself a catcher; not any more.

I’m a set-up guy out of the bullpen.I’m not one to blow balls by you, or to get a ton of strikeouts, but a guy to get us out of tough situations.

The key development that led to my becoming a pitcher happened in January. When we got back to working with the coaches, coaches Stafford and Newman dropped my arm slot down to a three-quarters-off-the-side release as opposed to an over-the-top delivery.

Our coaches work with us every day. They are always getting us in shape; working on mechanics. The big thing is they know everybody’s role, and they work with you in that role and that makes you better in the games.

My first-ever appearance, vs. St. John’s, was a time for me to prove myself.I knew I had prepared enough to go out there and do well. The coaches wouldn’t have put me out there if I wasn’t prepared. I felt ready to go and I felt like I was going to be successful.

The St. John’s game was memorable.I got us back in there and helped get the momentum back on our side. We tied the score the next inning. That was a pretty memorable moment.

Biology is my major. I’m hoping to go to medical school after next year. I want to get into orthopedic surgery.

School is a little tougher now because of the game day prep I have.I could think about school [on game days] before. Now I have to go through classes knowing I have to pitch or be in a tight situation.