STORY: Gullo Connected Well With Lamar


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Texas Writer

DRIPPING SPRINGS, TX - Nicolas Gullo had a bit of uncertainty on his way to a college visit to Lamar back in January. 

“I was not too sure,” the Dripping Springs junior admitted. “I didn’t know what the college looked like at all. It turned out not to be what I expected. I thought it would be a lot smaller. When I got there it was really nice.”

Interaction with the baseball coaches just added to the impression left on Gullo.

“I really liked coach (Scott) Hatten and coach (Will) Davis,” Gullo said in reference to the hitting coach/recruiting coordinator (Hatten) and the third-year head coach (Davis), who had previously been an assistant at LSU. “I connected well with them.”

The connection turned into a commitment for Gullo, who was also considering the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“This is a school I think I can really help out,” Gullo said about the D-I university that competes in the Southland Conference. “I like the business program and I like the coaches. It’s a place I can stay for four years and have a connection. I made the commitment almost on the spot.”

Lamar’s interest in Gullo began after he was seen at a pair of PBR showcases.

“I went to two Perfect Games and no one talked to me there,” Gullo said. “I went to two PBR Events and coach Davis and Hatten saw me and began recruiting me. They were really friendly and easy to communicate with. It just felt easy and fresh talking to them.

“I threw 88 at Lamar and at A&M they saw I was consistent. I also threw 89 at high school and Toby (Bicknell) at PBR saw me there and tweeted it out to help me get seen.”

The 6-foot-1, 182-pounder is more than a projectable right-handed pitcher, however.

“At the two showcases they saw me at, I hit well,” the left-handed hitting Gullo said. “I showed them I’m a good hitter.”

It is something Gullo has improved upon in the last year.

“A year ago my exit velo was around 84 and I was not hitting it that well,” Gullo pointed out. “Now my velo hits 90 and I’m hitting the ball a lot better. I’ve also gotten better with my infield action. It’s gotten a lot smoother and cleaner.”

It has Lamar interested in Gullo as a two-way player.

“They said they thought I could be good at both shortstop and pitcher,” Gullo said. “I like that. They really showed a general interest in me.”

It has Gullo excited about the possibilities.

“My whole life I’ve been a shortstop and pitcher,” the 47th-ranked junior in the state said. “I like all the action at shortstop. When there is a clutch situation, it usually involves the shortstop. I like being at a position I’m able to do more. With pitching, you’re able to control the game and I like that, too.”

Strong performances in front of coaches helped Gullo realize his potential.

“I’ve always wanted to play college baseball but I didn’t know if it would ever happen,” Gullo noted. “But when I started going to showcases I started to see that it could happen. The majority were throwing in the low 80s. There was a clear difference between some of the others and me and I started thinking maybe I do stand out.”

Improvement along the way helped Gullo in that aspect.

“My pitching coach Armando Galarraga (former Detroit Tiger known for throwing a near-perfect game only to have an incorrect call ruin the bid with two outs in the ninth inning) helped me with my mechanics,” Gullo explained. “I used to throw more three-quarters off to the side and now I’m pulling down with my arm instead of catapulting. I also used to pull my head off to the side and now it’s more online.”

Gullo is also focused on working to better his hitting ability.

“Lamar is a very good hitting team, so I’ll need to hit well to get in their lineup,” Gullo said. “I’m really good at pulling the ball but I need to work on oppo, so I can do that when I need to.”

In addition to Galarraga, others have also benefited Gullo along his baseball trail to Lamar.

“My parents (Nathan and Emily) have been a big influence,” noted Gullo, who carries a 3.0 GPA at Dripping Springs. “If I’m struggling with one thing they talk to me about getting it fixed. My high school coaches have also always been there to help me tweak things. Coach (Chris) Payne helps me with infield and hitting and coach (Carlos) DeLaCerda with pitching. Both also help me with mental parts of the game.”

It has Gullo ready for the next level.

“A lot of coaches came to me after I reached out to them during my recruitment,” Gullo said. “It was actually a lot easier for me than I thought it would be.”


 

 



 

 

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