UCF pitcher Eric Skoglund thought he’d be spending his summer in Cape Cod, but now finds himself back in a familiar surrounding.
The 6-foot-7 lefty began the summer living with a host-family in Massachusetts, while playing for the Bourne Braves in the prestige Cape Cod Baseball League. After a tough decision, Skoglund ended up back in Orlando living in a house with his UCF teammates.
“I wasn’t expecting to be back this soon,” said Skoglund, who was primarily used in a relief role with the Braves. “I pitched a little bit, but I wasn’t getting the work that I need up in the Cape League. I needed to focus more on the innings.”
Skoglund now starts every fifth game for the College Park Freedom in the Florida Collegiate Summer League. He’s already racked up 16.2 innings of work in three starts.
He’s been roughed up in those three starts, sporting a 5.94 ERA with 26 hits allowed, though he is showing good command striking out 13 batters to just one walk. He’ll look to improve his numbers with at least one more start scheduled for the summer.
“I need to improve on my put-away pitches — my secondary pitches like my slider and change-up,” said Skoglund. “Having the opportunity to come back home, I’m able to work on some of my pitches which would be more difficult in the Cape League.
Life is different in Orlando, for Skoglund, compared to how he lived up north. While in Bourne, Skoglund says baseball was his sole focus. In Orlando, he doesn’t go to games he’s not starting, which gives him the opportunity to have a part-time job, and workout at the UCF facilities more often.
“Here I have more of an opportunity to lift, run and do conditioning.” said Skoglund. “It’s also good to be able to help show some of the incoming freshman what it’s like to play for a Division I baseball team, and that it’s serious at UCF.
Those new teammates will be able to learn from Skoglund, who is now an upperclassmen entering his junior season. With the departures of Ben Lively and Brian Adkins, Skoglund will enter the 2014 season having made more starts at UCF than anyone on the roster.