Carlo Testa got off to a hot start this season. The Belmont Bruins as a team didn’t.
But now everything is in synch for the Bruins.
Belmont was 9-21 on April 4 and things didn’t seem to be going well. But down the stretch, the Bruins won 15 games and clinched a spot in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. The Bruins earned the third seed and will take on No. 4 seed Gardner-Webb on Wednesday.
And Testa is one of the biggest reasons the Bruins were able to turn it around, although you won’t hear him say as much.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound outfielder/pitcher has done a little of everything for Belmont. He’s hit .389 this season with 16 doubles, seven triples and 41 RBIs.
“I got off to a better start than I expected,” Testa said. “That got me going really good. Then it was just maintaining it.”
Testa said a big reason for his hot start was his hard work in the offseason. Testa played in the prestigious Northwoods League in the offseason. There, he went against some of the best players college baseball has to offer. He said it taught him a lot about the game and the work it requires on a daily basis, saying the best lesson was “getting mentally and physically prepared to play.”
“We did play a game every day,” Testa said. “There wasn’t a day I didn’t hit against really good pitching.”
Then again, Testa’s not a bad pitcher himself. Entering the last weekend of the regular season, he had a 6-3 record with a 4.93 ERA. He had pitched more innings than any other Bruin with 73 and has struck out 64 batters. It’s somewhat unusual for a team’s best batter to be one of its best pitchers, but Testa said that’s why he left his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to come to Belmont. He wanted the opportunity to pitch and play every day.
“(Other Division I ) colleges wanted me to do one or the other,” Testa said.
The Bruins have been the biggest beneficiaries so far, having achieved their first goal of qualifying for the A-Sun Tournament.
“That was a huge relief,” Testa said. “Just to show we can make it is huge. Going into the tournament we know we have a pretty legitimate shot.”
Whenever the Bruins’ season ends, Testa will likely end up with a decision to make. The junior will very likely be taken in the Major League Baseball entry draft. He said he will make a decision about whether to turn pro or not when he knows who drafts him and what situation he’ll be in.
“Becoming a professional baseball player has been my dream since I started playing baseball when I was 7-years-old,” Testa said. “But returning back here is not a bad circumstance by any means. If it happens for me, it happens.”