ORIGINAL ARTICLE LINK: Milner makes impact with quiet confidence, versatility
Mary Kusek, Texas Media Relations
Texas pitcher Hoby Milner relishes each opportunity to answer the call of his coaches and teammates, no matter what that call may be.
“Our job is to go out and get outs and throw,” said Milner, whose 2.36 ERA on the season is second only to closer Corey Knebel. “It doesn’t matter when you’re going to throw or how long you’re going to throw. We’re taught here to just go out, pitch, and get it to the next guy, so that’s just what I do.”
As a sophomore, Milner made a name for himself as a steady, reliable arm out of the bullpen, often entering the game to pull the Longhorns through sticky situations.
“I’m the one nobody wants to see,” Milner said during UT’s run to the 2011 College World Series. “I usually come in when it’s a pretty bad clean up.”
After starting three games early in his junior campaign, Milner has returned to the bullpen a picture of confidence, anchoring the Texas pitching staff mid-game. His value has been evident: Milner threw in both games of a doubleheader against Oklahoma State on April 14, and threw 2.1 scoreless innings to get the win as the Longhorns came back to defeat Kansas on Sunday. Milner struck out four and allowed just one hit.
Given his experience among a talented but youthful Longhorn pitching contingent, the reliever role is one Milner is not only well suited for but also comfortable in. He is simply happy to be able to affect his team in a positive way as often as possible.
The team-first attitude that Milner plays by has not gone unnoticed. Pitching coach Skip Johnson points to Milner as a model of “admirable” unselfishness, something that he finds lends ever-important positive energy to the Texas clubhouse.
“It’s really fun to be around a kid that really thinks of the team more than he thinks about himself,” Johnson said. “He can set an example for a lot of people because he is going to go that extra mile.”
Setting an example for his younger teammates, particularly his fellow pitchers, seems natural and effortless given Milner’s cool demeanor and approach to taking the mound in relief, no matter the scenario.
“You know nothing fazes him out there on the mound,” sophomore hurler Nathan Thornhill said. “You can see all the confidence in him. He’s calm, he’s not going to let a situation get in his head no matter how many runners are on and how many outs. You know he is still going to get the job done.”
Milner himself recognizes his opportunity, perhaps even his responsibility, to be a role model of versatility and flexibility. Reflective of his eagerness to contribute to the Longhorns’ success as much and as often as he is able, it’s a position he wholeheartedly embraces.
“We’ve got a lot of talent in our bullpen,” Milner said. “They’re the future of the bullpen for the pitching staff here. It’s a really big deal for them to have someone to look up to.”
Milner’s successful transition from sophomore to valued veteran hinged on his willingness to accept his leadership role on the team, and that’s one he typically fulfills by example.
“To be honest with you, the transition for him is really admirable because he wants to go out there and be a part of every game,” Johnson said. “It takes a little bit more to be a champion and that’s the type of attitude that he portrays.”
Filed under: 2012: USA College Player Updates