Double dipping: Lucyshyn finds success for UB Bulls
by Matthew Ondesko, Owner/Publisher
Photos: Geoff Schneider/Sports Union
In a recent game against Kent State, University at Buffalo’s Alexis Lucyshyn did what Alexis Lucyshyn normally does, everything.
Lucyshyn was dominating on the mound, pitching a shutout for eight inning as the Bulls earned a 3-0 victory at home. The three runs were provided by Lucyshyn, who hit a three-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth.
It was a normal day at the office for Lucyshyn who has done double duty for the Bulls since she stepped foot on campus three years ago.
“Knowing that I have different roles on the team it drives me to work harder in practice, so that when my time is called on, I am ready for any role,” stated Lucyshyn, “Being part of both aspects, hitting and pitching has engaged me more in the game and given me a better understanding of both sides and helped me grow as a player. When I am in practice I know that I need to prepare myself for both so that when I am called on I am ready to do my part to help this team.”
Lucyshyn has prepared herself all season long, and the Bulls are happy she did. After a rough season on the mound last year, Lucyshyn has been a dominating force - almost shaving off nearly two runs per game off her earned run average.
It was a mindset change in the offseason that got Lucyshyn back on track. She knew for her, and her team, to be successful this season, she needed to work on the pitching part of the game. Lucyshyn needed to break down what she was doing mechanic wise and build herself back up.
Everything she worked on has paid off in spades. She has kept the Bulls in every game she has pitched, and given the potent offense a chance to swing the bat and win games.
“I knew coming into this year to help my team succeed I did need to make some changes one of which was lowing my ERA to give my team the best chance to win. Every pitch I throw is important and I know that one pitch can change a game which is why in the off season I was working hard at hitting my locations to make it difficult for the hitter and taking it one pitch at a time. On the mound I have focused on taking it one pitch at a time to ensure that I am putting my best effort forward on each pitch,” explained Lucyshyn. “Breaking down the pitch and watching myself in a game has helped me ensure that my mechanics are sound. When I watch videos from a game that I pitched in I am able to slow the game down and watch each movement that I make so that I can make the small changes in practice and ensure that I am able to have the same motion every time I am on the mound.”
Lucyshyn also has an unique advantage on the mound as well. Because she can rake at the plate, Lucyshyn knows how she wants to attack hitters, that’s because she see’s how opposing pitchers are attacking her when she steps to the plate.
She can attack a hitters weakness by seeing how they are swinging the bat. It also helps her when she is up to bat. She can see how the opposing pitcher is looking to attack to her - and make her adjustments accordingly.
“Yes, it absolutely helps, I have had the opportunity to be on both sides which has helped me both as a pitcher and when I hit,” stated Lucyshyn. “When I am pitching, I am able to understand the swing of the person up to bat, and as a hitter I can recognize any weaknesses that will help me attack the batter to get an out.”
One would think there is a lot of pressure on Lucyshyn to perform in games. After all, Lucyshyn is doing double duty. If she has a bad game on the mound or at the plate it could technically cost the team.
Lucyshyn doesn’t see it that way. She doesn’t put the added pressure on herself to succeed in both phases of the game. She knows that every time she steps on the field she will be giving it 100 percent. There are days that not everything is going to click just right.
There will be days when she will be battling herself on the mound or at the plate, but that doesn’t mean she is letting herself, or her teammates, down. It means Lucyshyn will just get back out there the next day and give it her all again.
“In games where I am both hitting and pitching I try to keep is simple and focus on the task at hand whether it is pitching or hitting. I know that every time I am out on the field I am going to give it 100 percent and sometimes if I do have a bad day at the office my team is where to pick me up,” stated Lucyshyn. “I know that if I am having a bad day hitting, I will do everything I can to succeed while pitching and my team is there to pick me up by getting the clutch hits.”
Her success this season isn’t a fluke. Lucyshyn had a little extra motivation coming into the year. After her breakout season at the plate, Lucyshyn was named a first team All-MAC selection. It was the first time in her career that she was bestowed that honor.
It also gave her a little push to show people that it wasn’t just a one-time thing. Her selection to the All-Mac team was a goal, that she accomplished. But, it wasn’t the end goal. She used the offseason to work on every aspect of her game to make sure she was ready to help her team win.
“I definitely was excited to hear about the selection last year, but I was also just super thankful because I would not have been in that election without the help of my team. I think that the selection made me more excited for the upcoming season and proud to be part of this team who helped me get to that point,” stated Lucyshyn. “After this selection I was motivated to keep working so that I could come out stronger this year. This selection was a goal of mine, but I did not want to stop there and it drove me to work harder. After this selection I was ready to work as hard as I could to be my best for this team and help them find success.”
Finding success is what Lucyshyn has done since she came to Buffalo. It doesn’t start with what she has been doing on the field during game day, but the work she is putting in during practice.
Lucyshyn is constantly working on every aspect of her game. She wants to be an all-around player, and not just good at one thing. She spends just as much time working on the mound as she does at the plate, and it has shown.
So far this season, Lucyshyn is batting ,300 with six home runs and 29 runs batted in, while posting an ERA of 3.03 and a 10-8 record for a Bulls team that is hovering right around the .500 mark on the season, and in the division.
“At a normal practice I would usually split the time equally between both aspects of the game to help me find success in both,” stated Lucyshyn. “There are times when I find myself working more on one thing over another, but it can change and I am able to make these changes based off my previous performances and what I feel like needs to be addressed.”
At the end of the day it’s all about team success for Lucyshyn. All the individual awards are nice, but it’s how the team finishes is what’s more important. The Bulls have been trending up over the past couple of season’s. Take away the short season a couple years ago due to covid, the Bulls are on the right path.
That’s the most important aspect of what’s going on at the University at Buffalo. The Bulls aren’t a pushover in the MAC anymore, and teams are starting to take notice.
“It has been exciting to be part of the team and seeing the improvements that have been made over that past three years I have been here. The mindset that we have is to compete in every game and to win and to do so everyone has to put in the work to help this team find that goal,” stated Lucyshyn. “This is one of the closest teams that I have been part over that past three seasons and I do believe it is because every single person on this team has the same goals and is doing what they can to help this team. Mindset is the biggest thing that has changed this team and helped us win. At practice it is amazing to see each person working hard so that when the time calls for them to perform, they are ready to help this team compete and find success.”