It was his senior year in high school when Anthony Susac had to make a decision most people his age wouldn't have to consider. After suffering an elbow injury, Anthony Susac had to make the decision on whether or not he would undergo surgery. He wound up making that decision and going through with it in December of 2020 knowing he would miss his senior year of baseball in high school.
"I had the partial tear in my UCL in the right spot where we were eligible for the surgery," Anthony Susac said. "I had a PRP shot and it didn't work and I said let's do it now and miss my [COVID-19] season of high school and just be ready for college."
The current freshman pitcher struggled early in the season, but he has really turned it around as of late to the tune of allowing four runs over 13 innings pitched across his last three appearances. That is good for a 2.77 ERA to go along with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
"He came off elbow surgery when he came in here, so we had always been very careful with him," Arizona baseball manager Chip Hale said. "Pitching at New Mexico State if you think about it in a week's period, he threw probably 113-114 pitches so that is good work for him. We babied him a little bit in the fall for sure and this spring he hasn't really gotten a chance to sort of show his stuff. If you notice, his velocity is way up from where it was a month ago."
Anthony Susac knew by coming to Tucson he was joining his cousin, Daniel Susac with the Wildcats and the two have a rapport unlike any other.
"We had a sign system in high school, verbal sign system in Croatian," Anthony Susac said. "We have kind of started to go back to it a little bit so we have that connection. Daniel [Susac] has caught me my whole entire life and I don't think there is a better hitter in the country than Daniel versus me."
That can also help the connection they have when Daniel Susac is catching his cousin behind the plate.
"He knows what pitch is coming and he also knows what pitch I want to throw when catching," Anthony Susac said. "We would have these times, especially in high school where I'd be 50 pitches deep in a game, hadn't thrown a single change-up and I'd be sitting there going a change-up would be a good pitch right here and Daniel throws down a change-up. We just kind of have that connection where he knows what I want to throw and when I want to throw it."
The confidence Anthony Susac carries in himself every time he steps on his mound spreads throughout the team and that hasn't gone unnoticed by his teammates, including sophomore Chase Davis.
"He has the same attitude every time he goes out there," Davis said. "I mean you guys may not know it or see it, but he has the same attitude, ready to go. Whether the result says so or not, he is going out there the same way every time and that's really all you can ask for out of someone."
The Wildcats have their final midweek game Tuesday evening against Grand Canyon before closing the regular season with three straight weekend series. Playing in both a relief and starter role all season, Anthony Susac knows it is always different in regard to his preparations, but he is willing to do what it takes to help the team win.
"I have been a starter my whole entire life and coach [Dave] Lawn knows that," Anthony Susac said. "I got probably the longest routine of anybody on this team. It takes about an hour and 50 [minutes] to get ready before my starts. I start early with a lot of body prep. Coming out of the pen which I have done this year multiple times, I just kind of make adjustments and I have gotten to the point where I have been able to figure out a routine and kind of figure out what works best for me."
The Wildcats will host Grand Canyon in the final midweek game of the season on Tuesday with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MST.
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