Baseball’s Boyer adjusting to Division I level
By: Aidan Joly, Sports Editor
After dominating at the Division III level, Griffs hurler Ryan Boyer is having a successful transition to Division I in his final season of collegiate baseball.
In five appearances this season so far, two of them starts, Boyer has grabbed a pair of wins to the tune of a 4.19 ERA as well as 26 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. He earned his first Division I win in his first start at the new level on April 10 against Manhattan, striking out eight Jaspers in five innings of work. On April 25, he threw a complete game shutout against Rider, only allowing two hits.
Before coming to the Griffs, he pitched five seasons at Pitt-Bradford, a Division III school in Pennsylvania. There, he struck out over 200 hitters in just under 200 innings pitched. In the shortened 2020 season, he struck out 43 hitters in 25 1/3 and kept his opponents to under a .200 batting average.
The highlight of the 2020 season came on February 23, when he recorded a career-high 16 strikeouts in a game against Wells College. In his career with Pitt-Bradford, he threw 12 complete games, five of them shutouts, and was named the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference pitcher of the week five times and was named to the D3 team of the week twice. In addition, he earned the school’s Athlete of the Year award in 2020.
Now, at Division I, he is pursuing a new challenge, but his approach hasn’t really changed.
He noted that playing in summer collegiate leagues has helped him prepare for this level in leagues that have a lot of Division I talent. In the summers of 2017 and 2018 he played with the Jamestown Jammers of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, even helping the Jammers win a league title in 2018. That year, he posted a 1.44 ERA across 19 relief appearances. In the summer of 2019, he played with the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the Northwoods League.
He also said that facing a Division I lineup is much more challenging than a Division III lineup.
“The hitters here top to bottom are a lot better. Division III might have one or two guys you’re worrying about but here obviously the whole lineup is usually pretty good,” he said. “That’s the biggest adjustment but I think summer ball got me ready for that.”
His velocity has played a big part in how he has improved over the years and has been a reason why he is now at this level.
“It’s definitely a big part. I didn’t throw hard for a lot of my life, and I set out to throw hard, so I’m definitely trying to throw it by guys and use my fastball as much as possible,” Boyer said. “Velocity can never be high enough so I want to keep climbing it as much as I can.”
Head coach Matt Mazurek said of Boyer’s transition to the new level, “Getting into the program and doing everything he needed to do was not hard at all. We’ve let him continue to do what he’s done, he’s a very hard worker, he’s very meticulous and regimented. He knows what he’s doing.”
His first appearance of the year didn’t go too well, when he gave up five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against Fairfield on March 20, but Mazurek said he has made the necessary adjustments and has learned from it.
“He had to get his feet wet and figure out what our level is like, and he got welcomed to Division I at Fairfield pretty interestingly, and he’s been composed, and he’s done his homework on, ‘Why didn’t I find success? What do I need to do better to find success?’ As you can see, he’s finding success.”