Baseball player and business student finds success on the mound and in the classroom.
When Pat Krall graduates from Clemson University this spring, the College of Business honors student will be armed with a degree for life after baseball.
Pat is a business management major and the Tigers’ ace left-hander who decided to return to the mound and classes his senior year after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in last year’s Major League Baseball draft.
His dream is to pitch in the majors after a successful college baseball career, but he knows past performance is no guarantee of future success.
“It was really important for me to come back and finish my degree. Baseball can be over for you when you’re 18 or 40,” Pat said. “It’s scary thinking about your livelihood ending at such an early age. I want to be successful in life, and education is the bridge to getting me there.”
Pat transferred to Clemson before his sophomore year after he was thrown a curve ball at Temple University, where the Owls’ baseball program was discontinued for budgetary reasons. The turn of events worked out well for him on the playing field and in the classroom.
“Coming out of high school, I couldn’t have dreamed of coming to a school in the South at a top-ranked academic university,” he said. “I got by academically in high school, but in my freshman year at Temple, I put my mind to it and got some really good grades. That focus carried over to my performance on the field. So when the Clemson opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t pass it up.”
Pat has put up some impressive numbers while at Clemson. In two seasons here, he has a 12-6 record with eight saves and a 2.43 earned run average. In just his junior year, he had a 10-2 record, five saves and a 1.67 ERA. Just as impressive is the 3.58 grade point average the Downingtown, Pa., native brings into his senior year.
He credits his parents’ genes and academic advisor Lindsey Ricketts for his academic success while juggling the rigors of playing for a major college baseball program.
“Both of my parents are smart and successful, and Lindsey really helped get my academic house in order. From tutoring to meetings that track your academic progress, they’ve all helped me focus on maintaining good grades.”
Pat also believes stepping up to the plate in the classroom has had a positive effect on how he performs on the mound.
“I do believe there’s a correlation between academic discipline and my athletic outcomes. Some student-athletes, no matter what they do in school, they’re phenomenal athletes. For me, effort and focus in the classroom carries over to other parts of my life. I truly believe working hard in the classroom has made me a better ball player.”
His coach, Monte Lee, isn’t surprised with Pat’s success in the classroom. Lee says the senior’s mental toughness is one of his strongest assets.
“Pat has the mental toughness and focus that surpasses any player on any team I’ve ever coached. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows him that he would excel in the classroom,” Lee said. “When a task is at hand, he is confident and takes charge. Pat more than lives up to the expectations we have of our players in the classroom, on the field and in the community. He’s a young man of integrity.”
Pat says his recipe for succeeding as a pitcher is sticking with his strengths and improving on them, and as important as anything, not trying to be something he’s not.
“I don’t throw high heat like some pitchers. I really work on the mental part of the game and am comfortable with owning what I have and not doing something I can’t do. Having routines, going with my strengths and being consistent have worked for me, and I’ve stuck with that approach to my game.”
Post-graduation, Pat likes the Tigers’ chances at making a run to the College World Series, and after that he’s hoping for a shot in the major leagues. But he’s keenly aware of the importance his business management degree will play after his days on the diamond are a memory.
“I really love sports and eventually see myself doing something in the business of sports,” Pat said. “There are a lot of networking opportunities for ball players and doors can be opened from them. Having the opportunity to play college baseball at a high level, and getting a degree from a quality university make me feel good about the future.”