Gator pitcher Alex Panteliodis in top shape and living a lifetime dream with trip to Omaha
When he arrived in Gainesville two years ago, Alex Panteliodis was 20 pounds heavier and had never been fond of working out. But after undergoing months of mandatory 7 a.m. workouts instituted by new head coach Kevin O'Sullivan, Panteliodis is as fit as he's ever been in his life.
And it's paying huge dividends on the mound for the Florida starting pitcher.
"I lost 20 pounds two years ago and I’ve toned up a lot,'' the former Alonso standout said. "The running and the morning conditioning in the fall, I’ve never done that in my life. It’s made a great change in my body and everything and allowed me to become what I am today. It’s helped me get out in front of my body, finish through on my pitches. I’ve gained a lot of velocity through it. It’s helped me out a lot. I’m really proud.''
O'Sullivan said the key was getting Panteliodis to realize how conditioning could help his as a pitcher without putting too much pressure on him to try and lose too much weight.
"He’s a big guy to begin with (6-foot-2, 235),'' O'Sullivan said. "He doesn’t need to be (teammate) Hudson Randall (who is 6-foot-3, 18). He doesn’t need to be that, he just needed to get in a little better shape. And he’s worked awfully hard at it.''
When Florida opens play in the College World Series Saturday night against UCLA, most likely Panteliodis will be the starting pitcher. He pitched his first career complete game and
had a personal best with 12 strikeouts in Florida's 7-2 win over Miami in the first game of the NCAA Super Regional. It was UF’s first complete game since Stephen Locke against Alabama on May 10, 2008, and the first in the NCAA tournament since Tommy Boss did it in the 2005 Super Regional.
"It’s a big confidence booster,'' Panteliodis said. "I wasn’t expecting him (O'Sullivan) to send me out there again, but he came up to me and say 'Hey close it down.' So I went out there and did it. I felt really good about myself. He was there behind me and he just wanted me to go out there and finish it. It felt really great and I was happy I was able to go out there and do it.''
Now he wants to make sure he can deliver for the Gators in Omaha, which is a dream come true.
"I’ve always wanted to be there,'' Panteliodis said. "I’ve grown up watching it. And now I’m getting a chance to play there and it’s the last season there (for Rosenblatt Stadium) so I’d love to come out on top.''