By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
LEWSIBURG -- It wasn't surprising that Andrew Andreychik made a name for himself in his freshman year at Bucknell.
The 2011-2012 Daily Item Athlete of the Year and former three-sport star (baseball, football and basketball) at Danville High became the first Bison freshman since 1979 to pitch a shutout when he blanked Army in the second game of an April 21 doubleheader.
"It started kind of tough," Andreychik said of his first collegiate season. "I got rattled around a bit against Richmond in my first start, but I came on strong as of late. I had a tough one (Sunday), but I am just going to take it in stride and work on some thing going into the playoffs."
Andreychik, a 5-foot-11 righty. recorded a season-high eight strikeouts against Army while giving up four hits and walking a batter in Bucknell's 5-0 win. He was named the Patriot League pitcher of the week for his outing.
"It was quite the experience. It was a great time going in there and getting the lone win in the series," he said. "Having all of the guys in the infield backing me and the guys it the dugout cheering me on, that puts us over the edge and gets us the victory. It helps a lot getting some runs on the board early."
Before Sunday's game, Andreychik had allowed just two runs over 24 innings in his previous three starts.
"Its been a great ride and I want to keep it going in the playoffs," he added. "We have great senior leadership and hopefully they can lead us all the way to (an NCAA) regional."
Bucknell is the fourth seed in the Patriot League tournament. They face Holy Cross in the semifinals in two weeks.
Andreychik kept his options open as to what sport he would play in college.
"I got the call from Bucknell and they wanted me to come over for a visit and I just like the school a lot and I thought it would be a great fit," he said. "I do miss basketball and football, but everything will work out in the end."
Andreychik is undeclared at the moment, but said he is going to apply to be a political science major.
"I want to go into the FBI or CIA after school," he said.
Scott Heather is in his first year as the Bison skipper and he's high on the Andreychik's potential.
"He's been big for us. He's been our game four starter in conference play all year, and he's a guy that gets three pitches over the plate for a strike and a guy that gives us an opportunity to win because of that," Heather said. "He's a great kid that works hard and he's even-tempered. You can't tell what the score is by his actions. We look forward to the playoffs here in a couple of weeks and he'll be a big part of that."
Andreychik ended the regular season with a 4-3 record and a 3.88 ERA. In 48.2 innings pitched, he struck out 30 with a near 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walks ratio. He surrendered one home run all year.
The adjustment from high school and legion baseball to college ball is something Andreychik noticed early on.
"You have to be able to hit the corners and throw for strikes and keep the hitter off balance," he said. "You have to pitch instead of throw. Coach Heather always says you have to hit your spots and locate with every pitch and not just your fastball."
Andreychik's three pitchers are fastball, slider and change-up.
"When I'm not hitting my spots as well as I would like to with my fastball or slider, I usually go to the change-up to get the hitters off balance," he said.
Andreychik came into the fall portion of the season as a two-way player.
"He's going to get an opportunity to play a position as well," Heather added on Andreychik's future. "In the fall, he got a chance to hit and play the infield and he did fine out there. He's going to have the chance to compete at those spots next year as we had a senior-laden group in the infield this year. He had a chance to help us on the mound and we needed him there."
Heather noted that Andreychik's velocity has increased from the fall and he's been consistently throwing in the mid-80s.
Andreychick, who hit .354 in his senior year at Danville, will play summer ball for the Surfside Sting Rays in Myrtle Beach, S.C.