Alberius Praises Jorn for Switch to the Mound

Josh Alberius still remembers a career changing conversation he had with then Razorback pitching coach Dave Jorn back in the fall of 2014.

"He called me into his office and he was saying, 'You know we're pretty full on infielders. We think that you've got a good enough glove,' " Alberius recalled. "He's like, 'Your arm's strong enough that we think that you could pitch here' and, you know,  'We don't have much depth on the mound and we'd like you to give it a try.' So I went through a full bullpen. I was up around 90 miles an hour and they liked my slider a lot. Ever since then I've been on the bump."

Alberius had come to Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn's program in 2013 after an all state high school career at Little Rock Christian Academy. He sat out his first season and played sparingly as a redshirt freshman, hitting just .125 in 16 at bats. But Alberius scored the winning run in an extra innings walk-off victory over Auburn and made a diving catch into stands on March 19, 2014 that made ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day. He enjoyed his time as a position player but Alberius admits that, "pitching for sure is the route that I need to be on."

Alberius appeared in 23 games this past season, including nine starts, recording 48 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings. He pitched twice in relief in the Fayetteville NCAA Regional, blanking Oral Roberts over 3 innings while giving up one run in 1 1/3 innings in the final game of the season against Missouri State.

The week of the MLB Draft Alberius headed home to, in his words, "Take it easy. Kind of recover from the baseball season and wait for this draft to come around. It finally did and I got some good news."

Alberius revealed that he was hitting golf balls from his backyard into the Arkansas River with former teammate Blaine Knight when he learned that the Miami Marlins had selected him in the 36th round.

"We had the draft on some speakers on the back porch and about the time they announced it I got that call," Alberius explained. "Brian Craft, the scout that drafted me, he was excited. It kind of fired me up. I had my whole family there. It was a special moment for sure."

"I think it's (Miami) a great organization," Alberius continued. "It fits me well. I spent five years in the SEC. I feel well equipped. I feel experienced. I think I will probably go to Jupiter, Florida on Monday. What I've been told, I'll probably get sent off to short-season in Batavia, New York (Muckdogs) pitching for an actual baseball team as opposed to just being in rookie ball."

Alberius admits that he's still been following college baseball since is own team was eliminated even though it was, "tough to do," adding, "After the regional loss I started dusting off the golf clubs. Been playing some golf. Been doing some fishing. Just kind of getting my mind away from the game. I knew when the draft came around I needed to be fully recovered and ready to get back after it."

Looking back on his college career Alberius said, "I used to go to (Razorback) games all the time as a kid. To be able to spend five years there under coach Van Horn, be there with coach Jorn as well as (current pitching) coach (Wes) Johnson as well as (former hitting) coach (Tony) Vitello, I think I got the best of both worlds. I got to do a little bit of everything." 

And what about the program he's leaving?

"I was there my freshman year when we were pre-season number one with the pitching staff and all the bats that we had," Alberius answered. "To be honest with you, I think this (2018 Razorback) team pre-season has a better projectable roster. There's experience all the way one through nine in the offensive part and the pitching staff's going to be loaded. You're going to have about 15 or 20 guys who did it this past year and saw what it takes to win in this league so I can't wait to see what the future brings for this 2018 team."



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