Michael Burns was disappointed following his junior season with the RIT baseball team. Fortunately for Burns, he is in the perfect sport for second chances.
For most college baseball players the season doesn’t end in mid-May. Players have a number of playing options for the summertime thanks to a variety of summer leagues around the country.
Burns didn’t have to look very far to find the perfect fit to rehab his game. In fact, thanks to the RCBL, the former Rush-Henrietta standout didn’t even have to leave Rochester.
“It’s a really good league and helps you get an idea of what it’s like to be a college player,” Burns said. “It helps me with my work schedule. I don’t have be out there everyday. I can work with my normal summer hours then head to the field.”
Burns had an excellent summer in the RCBL finishing 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA for the Aces, who finished second in the standings at 11-9. He finished in the top five in the league in strikeouts, wins and ERA.
“It might sound like a cliché, but Michael’s biggest strengths is his work ethic,” said Rob Grow, RIT head coach. “He came here wanting be a starting pitcher, and he has worked hard to make sure that would happen. The bigger his role on the team gets, the more he excels.”
Burns didn’t waste any time after his college season ended as he went to work right away with Lou Izzo, the RCBL’s pitching coach. Izzo and Burns worked on his stride towards the plate, which would help him locate his pitches better.
The changes worked, particularly late in the season.
Burns didn’t surrender a run in three of his final four starts and the Aces won all four of those games. His best game of the season came July 11 against the Monarchs when he pitched four perfect innings and he recorded four strikeouts. Due to league rules, he had to stop pitching after the fifth inning.
“He really does a good job of locating his pitches,” Izzo said. “He’s a competitive guy and he does a really good job in games and workouts. He was consistent and that allowed him to throw pretty hard.”
Burns persevered through an up-and-down junior season with the Tigers finishing 3-4 wtih a 3.93 ERA. He led the Tigers in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.
Burns best outing came in April against Clarkson when he pitched a complete game shutout.
“I improved a little bit (from his sophomore season) but I am not where I want to be,” Burns said. “The main thing I want to do next year is win a Liberty League Championship and enjoy my last year of school and baseball.”
Page 2 of 2 - Burns came to RIT after two outstanding years with the Royal Comets, where he was a two-time Monroe County Division I All-Star.
Burns fist season with the Tigers was similar to his high school career as he played third base and pitched. In his sophomore year he became strictly a pitcher and lead the team in wins with three.
“I had learn how to play just pitcher because I use to be a positional player,” Burns said. “I had to learn how to prepare for my next start. Physically I have gotten bigger and stronger and more consistent with my motion.”