May 21, 2004
Numbers do lie. A quick look at the stat sheet and the importance of Drew Ehrlich to the 2004 Stanford Baseball team may not jump out at you. The senior right-handed pitcher does have a 1-0 record and a 3.65 ERA but has seen just 12.1 innings of action, the least since his freshman season.
'I've given everything that I can,' said Ehrlich with pride. 'I try to not let things like that affect how I go about performing and doing my duties. It is frustrating for any player that doesn't play much, but I'm still able to make an impact on the team.'
As one of only two senior pitchers and a fourth-year veteran, Ehrlich feels its his responsibility to hand out plenty of advice and share his experiences with a talented and young Cardinal staff.
'I like to mentor some of the younger pitchers on our team. To see them succeed after that is rewarding for both them and myself. I've always supported everyone on this team. Even though I haven't pitched a lot this year, I have still kept up the other side with the team aspect. I try to make mental contributions and have a great attitude.'
'Drew Ehrlich has done a great job of leading the younger pitchers on the staff this season,' added Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. 'We wouldn't have had the success we have had without him.'
Ehrlich's advice doesn't stop with his fellow pitchers - just ask his roommate and Cardinal senior utility player Brian Hall.
'We mainly started talking about things early this year when I started hitting better,' said Hall. 'We would just talk about how pitchers are trying to get hitters out. He gave me a clue as to how I should approach certain pitchers.'
Ehrlich claims that most of his advice for Hall has been moral support, rather than technical hitting advice.
'Sometimes players just need to relax and be reminded how good they are,' said Ehrlich. 'Sometimes, I will just joke around with him a little bit before an at bat and try to keep him loose.'
Whether Ehrlich's advice is technical or moral support, it seems to be working as Hall is having the best year of his career this season with a .364 batting average, nine homers, 50 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
Hall has also had some advice for Ehrlich.
'He just tells me how to get hitters out and what their tendencies are, and that helps to build my confidence,' said Ehrlich.
It's not that Ehrlich hasn't found success when he has been given the opportunity to pitch this season. In one of his most recent outings at Santa Clara, he picked up the victory in a wild 12-8 Stanford win in 14 innings by shutting the Broncos out over the final 1.2 frames.
Ehrlich knows that his time on the Stanford Baseball team and the close camaraderie he has enjoyed with his teammates is nearing an end.
'It has gone by extremely quick,' said Ehrlich. 'I've been told that as you get older, time flies by. It just seems like yesterday that I was a freshman. I am at a turning point in my life, but I feel I'm ready and prepared to move on to the next level.'
He hopes that his future will include professional baseball and his six-foot, five-inch frame might be tempting for some pro scouts.
But if it doesn't work out with pro baseball, he's already making preparations for life after college and already has a part-time job working on a website for Maxim Semiconductors.
'I enjoy it,' explained Ehrlich. 'I never thought I would be suited for an office job, but I enjoy going in there. It's good to get out in the working world and gain some experience, which should make for a smooth transition after college.'
Ehrlich claims that he just wants to 'get a job and live out the rest of my life happy' when he is finished at Stanford, but first there's some unfinished dreams he hopes to live out.
'I'd love to go to Omaha, suit up and be in there for that third game of the championship series,' said Ehrlich. 'To get the call, come in to pitch the final three outs and be on the mound to finish the game. Generally, I don't like to be on the bottom of a dog pile, but I think I would accept it if that were the situation.'
He's already accepted everything else with flying colors.
by Kyle McRae