BY STEVE KRAH
Pauly Milto has become the first starter in Indiana University’s weekend pitching rotation.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior right-hander is slated to take the ball when the Hoosiers begin a three-game Big Ten Conference baseball series Friday, April 26 against Minnesota at IU’s Bart Kaufman Field.
So Milto is the man who sets the tone for the staff and the team?
“I don’t think of it that way,” says Milto. “My job is to go out there and prevent runs. ‘Friday guy’ is just a label to me.
“I guess it’s kind of cool to be the first guy to pitch. But it’s the same job no matter when you go into pitch.”
Milto, who hails from Greenwood, Ind., and is a graduate of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, has started 10 games in 2019 and is 6-3 with a 2.29 earned run average.
In 70 2/3 innings, he has 69 strikeouts and nine walks. Opponents are hitting .212 against him. He fanned a season-high 10 batters in an outing against Iowa on March 22.
For his career, Milto is 24-9 with a 2.81 ERA. He has 227 K’s and 65 free passes in 255 innings and 58 appearances (35 as a starter).
While Milto occasionally touches around 92 mph with his fastball, he relies on his ability to mix his four-seamer, two-seamer, wipeout slider and change-up.
“I’m not beating barrels with my velocity,” says Milto. “It’s tunneling pitches and making everything look the same until it gets closer to the hitter.”
Milto has learned to understand his body and make swift adjustments.
“The biggest part in my own personal development is just knowing myself and kind of figuring out that when I mess up, knowing right away instead of taking two or three more pitches to understand to fix an issue,” says Milto.
At Roncalli, Milto did not pitch that much. He played two seasons for Keith Hatfield and one for Deron Spink. He did not get to play for Aaron Kroll, missing his senior campaign with a back injury that required surgery.
“It was a six-month process,” says Milto. “All the rehab was worth it. I feel great right now.
“I’ve had no complications.”
Milto credits former IU pitching coach Kyle Bunn for teaching him how to pitch.
With the arrival of a new coaching staff in Bloomington for 2019, including pitching Justin Parker, Milto has embraced a new way of doing things.
“His philosophy on pitching is a little different than what I’m used to,” says Milto of Parker. “I’ve enjoyed evolving into a different kind of mindse.
“Also, he’s found some mechanical flaws that I had. We’ve been able to correct those pretty quickly.”
Milto’s earliest organized baseball experiences came at Center Grove and Edgewood youth leagues. He began playing travel ball at 9, first with the Edgewood Bulldogs then Indiana Irish and Pony Express.
His collegiate career could be capped off with selection in June’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
But he’s not concerned about that at the moment.
“I’m just focused on the here and now and keeping the season going,” says Milto.
The 22-year-old graduated from IU in three years and is doing some extra schooling now to earn a certificate.
The son of Tony and Angela Milto has two siblings — Anthony and Sophia.
Indiana University’s Pauly Milto delivers a pitch against Iowa on March 22, 2019 in Bloomington, Ind. The senior right-hander has been at the front of the Hoosiers’ weekend pitching rotation. (Missy Minear/Indiana Athletics Photo)