Athlete Close up: Senior Pitcher Justin Sinibaldi

The number one senior pitcher for the Nicholls State University baseball team Justin Sinibaldi, one of the highlights of the team in the 2016 season, is looking forward to finishing his legacy as a Colonel on a high note.

This season, Sinibaldi tossed his career-high with 11 strikeouts during “90s Night at The Did” on April 15 in the game against Central Arkansas. As of now, Sinibaldi struck out 62 runners in 71 innings of work, while allowing only 18 walks. The pitcher currently stands at number six in strikeouts in the Southland Conference. Sinibaldi has played at least six innings in all SLC starts and has 23 earned runs.

Nicholls head coach Seth Thibodeaux said he is proud of the player Sinibaldi has become. According to Thibodeaux, going from the number three on Sunday last year to the number one player on Friday is a challenge that Sinibaldi has handled well.

“He is our number one, our Friday night pitcher, a leader for us as a senior and the guy we turn to to lead us where we need to be,” Thibodeaux said.

There are prospects for Sinibaldi to play professional baseball in the future, but his main focus is to finish the season strong and to graduate.

“I am just worried about the season right now and I will let that happen if it happens,” Sinibaldi said.

According to Sinibaldi, his goal is to make it to the post-season and to win the Southland Conference Championship.

“Playing in the post season was one of the best times of my career,” Sinibaldi said. “I want to go out there and win a ring.”

Sinibaldi’s trajectory in baseball started at a young age. As a baseball player himself, Sinibaldi’s father was a big influence in his sport career.

“I started playing baseball at the age of six, and ever since then baseball has been my first love,” Sinibaldi said.
Sinibaldi was a hitter for the most part of his high school career, but had the opportunity to pitch for a while, which caught the attention of Thibodeaux.

“I watched him pitch and fell in love with his ability,” Thibodeaux said.

According to Thibodeaux, Sinibaldi’s development took a little longer to happen. For that reason, his performance oscillated between good pitching and glimpses of immature playing during the player’s first two years at Nicholls.
Sinibaldi made six appearances as a pitcher during his sophomore year and seven appearances in the following season. Although Thibodeaux didn’t think he was ready, the coach wanted him to pitch more, pushing him to change.

“It was time for him to make a change,” Thibodeaux said. “Time for him to turn for the better or his time here wouldn’t be what it was set out for it to be.”

Thibodeaux said Sinibaldi walked the extra mile during the summer after his sophomore season, and came back in the fall with a new attitude. This led the coaches to pick him to be the starter during his junior year.

“It has been fun to watch him grow into the young man he is now,” Thibodeaux said.

The right-handed pitcher contributed to the Colonels record, making Nicholls become first in the league and fifth in the nation with a 2.47 team ERA.
Sinibaldi led the Southland Conference and finished the 2015 season tenth in the nation with a 1.40 ERA. He also finished eighth in the nation and first in the league with ten wins.

“It was neat to have him perform like he did as a junior,” Thibodeaux said. “He put us on his back several times as a junior, just as he has done this year as a senior.”

In 2015, Sinibaldi was awarded the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, First-Team All Southland Pitcher, First-Team All Louisiana and Member of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year Watch List. He held opponents to a .245 batting average on the year, recorded two shutouts and did not allow a triple or a home all year.