PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been a rough season for the St. Joe’s Hawks on the diamond.  After a 5-3 loss to Delaware on Wednesday night, the Hawks are 13-23 on the season.  But a bright spot has been the development of a pitching ace this season in sophomore right-hander Kyle Mullen.

A St. Joe’s Prep product, Mullen is 3-4 this season with a brilliant 2.97 ERA.

“I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve been pitching this year.  I can credit that to a lot of hard work in the offseason.  Last year I was working hard, but I didn’t really know what specifically to work on, but working with coach and a lot of the upper classmen, I’ve been able to focus on a lot of key areas to improve on.”

Mullen’s come along away since his freshman campaign in 2010 when he went 1-4 with an ERA just below 7.  He talked about the key areas where he’s gotten better:

“First, it starts with controlling the zone – no walks.  I didn’t walk too many batters last year, but I was missing spots and stuff.  This year, I’m trying to focus on hitting spots.  And another key thing was getting movement on my fastball, which I didn’t really have much of last year.  Velocity’s an important thing, but it’s not the only thing.”

Hear Matt Leon’s entire interview with Kyle Mullen in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

In addition to the improved fastball movement, Mullen said an improved change-up and slider or cutter, have helped him become a better pitcher and a pitcher that gets opponent to beat the ball into the ground for a lot of weak outs.  Mullen said he’s also benefited from having a year of experience under his belt, which has allowed him to slow the game down:

“That was a key issue that I had last year was that the game is just so much faster.  From high school to college it’s like 100% different.  And you just have to slow it down and I that’s what I realized last year – your mind is racing.  But this year I feel like I have more control out there on the mound.”

The rest of Mullen’s numbers dictate just how far the right-hander has come in the past year.  This season he has pitched a team high 60.2 innings for the Hawks – allowing 57 hits and just 15 walks.  As a freshman, Mullen allowed one more hit (58) and five more walks (20) in 21 fewer innings (39.2).  And while he allowed nine home runs as a freshman, this season he’s thrown only two long balls.

Reported by KYW’s Matt Leon

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