UNF Baseball Pitching Clinics 10/9/2023 – 10/30/2023
This clinic is designed to provide the elite development experience of a UNF Pitcher. This clinic will provide each participant the complete instruction and date development to take your career to the next level from our UNF Coaching Staff. All areas from warm-up, throwing program, bullpen development/sequences, to post throwing routines will be implemented throughout the entirety of the clinic. Clinics will be every Monday night at the UNF Baseball Field. This event will be limited to the first 25 participants to register.
Event Type: Clinics
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Joe Mercadante was tabbed as the fourth head coach in program history as announced by director of athletics Nick Morrow Friday, June 23.
Mercadante’s most recent stop was at the University of Pittsburgh where he was the assistant coach from 2021-23, his second stint with an Atlantic Coast Conference team after working with the University of Miami for seven seasons.
A native of Gainesville, Fla., Mercadante has extensive Florida roots having spent 17 years in coaching within the Sunshine State across five different collegiate programs at the Division I, high school and travel ball levels.
A great hitting instructor and recruiting specialist, Mercadante worked primarily with the program’s hitters and outfielders while assisting in the nationwide recruiting initiatives for Pitt. Each season the Panthers worked their way to the ACC Tournament in one of the nation’s top leagues, while making the semis in 2022 and developing all-league outfielder Kyle Hess.
Prior to that, Mercadante spent four years in the opposing dugout at Stetson University as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Hatters. During that stint, SU hosted a regional and eventually went to the 2018 Super Regionals, finishing just one win shy of the College World Series. That Stetson team achieved as high as a No. 7 ranking nationally, finishing with 48 wins.
Mercadante’s recruiting success while at Stetson was set up by a 13-year stretch between stops with the Central Florida Gators (2013-17), UCF Knights (2011-12) and Miami (2004-11). The Gainesville, Fla., native came to Stetson after four years with the Central Florida Gators where he helped three players to Under Armour All-American game and Perfect Game All-American game appearances.
The magical 2018 season at Stetson wasn’t the only year that Mercadante was part of a No. 7 nationally ranked mid-major, as the 45-17 UCF Knights were ranked as high as No. 7 during the 2012 season. The dynamic UCF offense finished in the top 40 in the country in scoring, runs, hits, home runs per game, stolen bases and walks. Ronnie Richardson, D.J. Hicks and Darnell Sweeney were all picked up in the MLB Draft that season.
His first stop in the NCAA coaching world began with a seven-year stretch in Coral Gables as a volunteer assistant and eventual assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes. During that period the Canes made the NCAA Regionals seven times, four super regionals and a pair of College World Series. Eight all-americans and four MLB First Round Draft picks were produced in well-known major leaguers Ryan Braun, Yonder Alonso, Jemile Weeks and Yasmani Grandal. His work expanded to managing the Jim Morris Baseball Camps and national-scale recruiting for the ACC stalwart.
Mercadante attended P.K. Yonge in Gainesville before helping Jefferson Davis Community College to a Junior College World Series berth. After one year at Delgado Junior College in New Orleans, Mercadante finished up his collegiate career with the Gators and hit .471 off the bench.
Drew Linder returned to the First Coast and joined the UNF baseball staff as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in August of 2023.
Linder At a Glance
- Arrives from Pittsburgh where he had a five-year stint
- On the Florida State staff during their 2017 trip to the CWS
- Helped see five pitchers to the MLB draft and two more that signed at Pitt
- Helped the Yarmouth Dennis Red Sox to the Cape Cod League regular season title in ‘18
- St. Augustine, Fla., native
Linder brings a unique mix of experience at the collegiate levels since his time as a student at Florida State. A native of St. Augustine, Fla., Linder attended Nease High School in Jacksonville, Fla., before earning his bachelor’s degree at Florida State.
In four years in Tallahassee, Linder was the bullpen coordinator and aided heavily with the FSU pitching staff, helping the Noles to three ACC titles, four regional appearances and a 2017 College World Series appearance.
With the Seminoles he also took on multiple roles at the national and summer collegiate level. In the summer of 2016, Linder served on the evaluation staff for the Tournament of the Stars, selecting the top talent from around the country to represent the U18 National Team. In that same summer, Linder took on a lead role with USA Baseball’s Task Force and Evaluation Staff for the National Team Identification Series (NTIS), which selects some of the nation’s top high school talent for USA’s developmental programs.
In 2017 Linder was named the bullpen coach and assistant pitching coach for the collegiate national team under John Savage, providing him the opportunity to work with the USA pitching staff and roster selections for the team. The Collegiate National Team went on to win all three of the International Series contests against Taiwan, Cuba and Japan. During the summer of 2017, the USA went 15-5 with a team ERA of 2.15. Four pitchers on the staff, Tyler Holton, Jake Irvin, Casey Mize and Konnor Pilkington, have gone on to make their MLB debuts.
Following the 2018 season at Florida State, Linder spent the summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League where he served as an assistant coach with the Yarmouth Dennis Red Sox. Linder aided with the Red Sox pitching staff along with the day-to-day opponent game planning and preparation work. The YD Red Sox went on to win the regular season title during the summer of ‘18 season.
Linder remained in the ACC for his next role, taking over at Pitt in ‘18 as the Director of Player Development. He worked with the Panthers in overseeing technology and data analytics initiatives centered around player development and the pitching staff. He also led the Panthers on-campus recruiting efforts in the Steel City. Throughout his stint in Pittsburgh, Linder helped see five pitchers to the MLB draft and two more that signed with MLB organizations.
Tyler Holt returned to his home state to take over as assistant coach and hitting coach with the Ospreys in August of 2023.
Tyler Holt At a Glance
- Arrives from Boston College
- Played in the MLB with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians
- Gold Glove honoree under Mike Martin at Florida State
- Been on two ACC staffs, including Florida State and Boston College
- Helped produce draft picks including Drew Mendoza (3rd round), Mike Salvatore (9th round), Matheu Nelson (1st round), Robby Martin (8th round), Elijah Cabell (17th round), Luke Gold (5th round), Travis Honeyman (3rd round), Joe Vetrano (5th round) and Peter Burns (free agent)
After growing up in Gainesville, Fla., Holt made his way around the country with the game of baseball at the amateur, Big League and collegiate level. The professional outfielder attended Gainesville High School before earning three letters with Florida State, finishing with a 13-home run campaign in 2010 under legendary head coach Mike Martin. Holt earned all-american honors as a freshman and in 2009 and 2010, while also being honored with an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove in 2009. Holt joined Buster Posey and Sherman Johnson as one of three FSU players to earn the gold glove honors.
Twice Holt earned First Team All-ACC honors, Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American recognition and Baseball America laurels. As a sophomore, Holt clubbed over .400, the last Seminole to do so. Later that year he went on to play with the Collegiate National Team.
“Florida has always been home to me and to finally have the chance to work with a staff like this led by Joe Mercadante is not only humbling but is rekindling of my love for the game of baseball,” Holt said. “The most important thing to me now in this game is who you’re working with and for. Merc is elite on the field but an even better person off, which echoes in my opinion, the reason it was a no brainer for Nick Morrow to turn the program over to him. I want to say thank you to Nick and Joe and the rest of the University of North Florida family for giving me this opportunity to stay in the game and to continue to wear my heart emotions on my sleeve. Buckle up, because the Ospreys are coming.”
“Tyler, in my opinion, is one of the best hitting coaches in college baseball and I am extremely proud to have him leading our offense here at UNF,” Mercadante said. “Tyler is a guy who has played at the highest level, knows what it takes to develop professional hitters and will connect with the players in our program very well. He’s a competitor and loves to work, which are the qualities that made him a great player and subsequently a great coach. I’m excited to bring Tyler back to the Sunshine State and look forward to getting to work with him and have him help lead this team.”
Holt was taken in the 10th round of the 2010 June MLB Draft before spending the next eight years at different ranks of the professional level. Holt would make The Show with both the Cleveland Indians (2014-15) and Cincinnati Reds (2015-16).
After wrapping up his playing days, Holt spent three years on the staff at his alma mater, helping the Seminoles to the 2019 College World Series. Florida State reached the College World Series in 2019, with Drew Mendoza being drafted in the third round and Mike Salvatore going in the ninth.
Holt spent two more years in Tallahassee, making the Ole Miss Regional in 2021.
He joined ACC foe Boston College in the fall of 2021, working with the Eagles as an assistant. 2023 ended up being a highwater year for the Eagles as they went 37-20, tying a school wins record en route to an appearance in the Tuscaloosa Regional. BC was fueled by a potent and disruptive offense that paced the ACC in HBP (39), while finishing second in sac flies (15) and stolen base percentage (29-31, 94 percent).
Holt helped bring some names to the forefront of the league and attention of big league scouts as three top five round draft picks were tabbed in 2023. Joe Vetrano went to the LA Dodgers in the fifth round, Travis Honeyman was tabbed by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round and Luke Gold went to the Tigers in the fifth round. Peter Burns was also picked up by the Angels as a free agent.
Mike Petrowski At a Glance
Arrives from Rider where he helped it to two NCAA Tournaments
- Set the Rider program team single season strikeouts record twice (432, 423)
- Helped produce ABCA All-American closer Dan Kirwin who finished 2nd in the nation in saves in 2023
- Knocked off No. 9 Duke, No. 10 Coastal Carolina
- Also defeated 2022 national runner-up Oklahoma
Mike Petrowski and the Broncs set a program record for wins in 2023 while winning a dramatic opening round regional contest against the Chanticleers.
Petrowski joined his alma mater as the pitching coach in 2019, helping the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference program to two conference titles. That wasn’ the only title that Petrowski won at Rider as he helped the program to the 2008 MAAC Championship before graduating in 2009.
Rider set the program team strikeouts record in consecutive seasons under Petrowski, with the Broncs spinning 432 and 423 respectively. Closer Dan Kirwin was a big reason for that success as the hurler finished second in the nation in saves and earned third team American Baseball Coaches Association All-American honors.
Rider knocked off No. 9 Duke in the regular season as well as No. 10 Coastal Carolina in their home regional. The Broncs also earned a win against 2022 national runner-up Oklahoma.
Additionally, a total of 21 draft picks, three major leagues and seven current minor leaguers have come up under Petrowski’s direction throughout his career.
“I am extremely excited to have Mike joining us here at UNF,” head coach Joe Mercadante said. “Mike has done a tremendous job at Rider over the past four seasons, going to the NCAA Tournament twice and setting the school single season strikeout record twice. He is highly regarded as a great developer of his pitching staffs from top to bottom. He knows what it takes to get to an NCAA Regional and most importantly, he prioritizes the student-athletes and his relationships with his players. I know Mike will do a great job with our players and we look forward to seeing the impact he will have with our team this fall.”
“I’m really excited to help get UNF to NCAA regionals and beyond,” Petrowski said. “With Joe and the staff’s coaching pedigree and postseason success, this was a no brainer for me. I want to win and win at the highest level. When you have regional experience two out of the last three years, you create a drive to back every year. The support from the president, AD and on down seems second to none and I’m appreciative of UNF for giving me this opportunity.”
The pitching coach held a variety of positions throughout the Garden State, working at the high school, collegiate summer league and junior college levels. He worked as the pitching and assistant coach at Hamilton West and Nottingham High Schools and also as the head coach at Rowan College at Burlington County. At RCBC, Petrowski and the team paced all of NJCAA Division II in team ERA with a 2.86 mark.
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