CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Former West Virginia State University baseball standout Zach Baldwin put in his time on the diamond.
Now 30 years old, the two-time golf State Tournament competitor is headed back to the links.
Baldwin will tee off at 12:15 p.m. today on the No. 1 hole at Parkersburg Country Club. He's part of the field for the 80th West Virginia Open, a tournament he competed in during his sophomore year at Cabell Midland High School.
He returns to golf after 14 years of chasing his baseball dream.
He spent two seasons at Coastal Carolina (2002-04), transferred to State (2004-06) and was drafted by Washington in the 31st round of the 2006 Major League First-Year Player Draft.
Baldwin was offered a golf scholarship to play for Coach Joe Feaganes at Marshall University and at South Carolina-Aiken after playing in two state tournaments (2000 and 2001), and winning the Class AAA state title in 2001.
Although he opted to walk on at Coastal Carolina to play baseball, he never left behind his golf game, and, as a result, he didn't miss a beat.
"I was very fortunate to have a lot of coaches and managers who were big golfers," Baldwin said. "Once they found out I could play a little bit, we'd play every morning we could. Being a pitcher helped too. If you're a hitter, it's a different swing. As a pitcher, I don't have to hit. If I'm not scheduled to pitch that day, I can go play golf and not be worried about being tired in the bullpen."
During his two seasons at Coastal Carolina, he appeared in 24 games, pitching 241/3 innings with an earned run average of 10.37.
Under Coach Cal Bailey at State, he didn't lose a game, going 19-0 in 1491/3 innings with 141 strikeouts, 30 walks and a 2.41 ERA.
He pitched seven seasons in the minor leagues, including the 2007 campaign with Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League. His last five years were spent with Winnipeg in the Northern League (2008-10) and the American Association (2011-12).
Baldwin decided the 2012 baseball season would be his last.