Former Gator and left-handed pitcher for the Arkansas Travelers, Nick Maronde, is seeking success in the big leagues.
Maronde grew up in Lexington, Kentucky where he attended Lexington Catholic High School and won a state championship in his sophomore year. The following year, he was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the 2007 Pan American Junior Championship. At the end of his senior year, he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 43rd round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. However, Maronde decided to play at Florida instead.
As a Gator in his final year in school in 2011 Maronde was 0-1 with a 2.09 ERA with three saves; opponents hit just .178 against him and he logged 55 strikeouts in just 43 innings of work. That year the Gators won the SEC title and finished runner-up at the NCAA College World Series. Maronde never regretted choosing Florida over the Athletics.
“It was a dream playing at Florida, played in the College World Series twice, made friends that will last a lifetime…all in all I had a great experience,” said Maronde.
After his junior year at Florida, Maronde was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the third round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. He was the highest Gator draft pick that year and head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s first player at Florida to reach the big leagues. Maronde credits his accomplishments to the Gator coaching staff.
“Kevin O’Sullivan, Brad Weitzel, Craig Bell, Don Norris, they’re all great coaches. I had my ups and downs while I was at Florida and they helped me get through those. They definitely have helped me become the player I am today, ” Maronde said.
He made his big league debut on September 2, 2012 against the Seattle Mariners. He faced only one batter and had his first strikeout on three pitches.
“It’s the ultimate goal to get up there, so I had a ton of adrenaline, it was a huge rush…there is no feeling like it, I don’t think it could ever be duplicated to be honest,” said Maronde.
After his first season with the Angels, Maronde was sent down to play for the Arkansas Travelers. He posted a 2.26 ERA in 20 minor league games including 18 starts in 2012. And early in the Angels 2013 season they called Maronde back up to be a relief pitcher.
However, when the Angels brought Maronde out of the bullpen in the sixth inning on April 30th in a game against a team from his past, the Oakland Athletics, he threw four straight balls and was sent back down to the minor leagues that same night.
But Maronde isn’t giving up on his dreams of major league success, and he continues working on honing his skills.
“I’m working on my off speed command and my off speed pitches, my changeup in slider, keeping the fast ball down at the knees and staying consistent with those three pitches,” said Maronde.
Maronde will resume play for the Arkansas Travelers and wait to be called back up to play for the Angels.