UA BASEBALL

Arizona Baseball: 6-9 UA pitcher is no rocket scientist - or is he?

2013-03-08T00:00:00Z Arizona Baseball: 6-9 UA pitcher is no rocket scientist - or is he?Daniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Most Interesting Man in the World has nothing on Augey Bill.

Sure, the Dos Equis pitchman's passport requires no photo, and he does bowl overhand, but that pales in comparison to what Bill can do.

The Arizona Wildcats senior stands 6 feet 9 inches tall, throws left-handed, and pitches.

Oh, and he's brilliant. Bill was accepted to Harvard out of high school; at the UA, he majors in aerospace engineering.

Just this week, Bill gave his senior aerospace laboratory class a presentation on subsonic wind tunnels, displaying how air flows over a plane model.

"In my major, you're designing planes and rockets - pretty much anything that flies," said Bill, who will be in the bullpen tonight when the UA opens a three-game series against Columbia at Hi Corbett Field. "I love it. It's so interesting. In my freshman engineering class, we were talking about planes, and I just thought, 'This is the most interesting thing ever.'

"It's just been a dream."

His on-the-field dream of playing professional baseball is more realistic than it's ever been. The Star recently got to know the Danville, Calif., resident:

• Student. Bill wanted to combine playing college baseball and pursuing an engineering degree. He applied to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Brown. He chose Arizona, largely because of the baseball program. Since enrolling in 2009, he has fallen in love with his major.

Bill will have endless choices for his first job but wants to do something out of this world.

"One thing that interests me the most is space travel," Bill said. "I would love to do something like that. Go to the moon, Mars, past our solar system. That would be the coolest thing in the world to me."

The most interesting man in Tucson said he's not sure how he balances his time between class and baseball.

He gave us a rundown of a recent day.

"I went to class and then met with one of my groups for a project we're doing," Bill said. "We worked on that for a couple of hours, and then I went to another class to present a different project that we finished last week. Then I came straight to Hi Corbett for the game, and then I'll go home and study."

• Athlete. Bill combined to throw just 21 innings over his first three seasons at Arizona and was rarely trusted with big-time situations.

That's starting to change.

Through the UA's first 15 games, Bill has thrown 10 innings and has given up one earned run. He has surrendered six hits and has struck out eight.

Opposing batters are hitting just .182 against him.

"I can sense the batters are a little uncomfortable against me," Bill said. "They kinda look at me like, 'Is this guy serious?' So, I try to use that to my advantage."

Since arriving in Tucson, Bill has gained nearly 30 pounds on his lanky frame and now weighs in at 225. He has developed a cut fastball, which is giving batters fits.

"He had to grow into that frame," pitching coach Shaun Cole said. "He came in as a freshman as a big, tall, gangly guy. He's still skinny, but I think he's growing into his body.

"He's a huge weapon. Imagine having to hit that guy."

Cole said Bill will be a pitcher the Wildcats likely rely on in Pac-12 play.

"It's all just starting to come together," Bill said. "Things are just working for me."

Today

• Who: Columbia at UA

• Where: Hi Corbett Field

• When: 6 p.m.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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