JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman junior relief pitcher Robert Plohr's first season at Mossy Creek has become a comeback season as well.
The O'Fallon, Mo. native suffered an arm injury during fall workouts that sidelined him for the first month of the season. And the injury to the six-foot, five-inch 205-pound Plohr was the first test during his collegiate career.
"It was tough for me because I worked by butt off to get where I've always been. To have that happen, it was a setback, but as they always say, a setback is always due for a big comeback," Plohr said. "Hopefully, that keeps going. Hopefully, my arm stays healthy; it feels awesome right now and I can keep that going.
"That's the one that set me back the most. I had a little stuff just with growth plate issues, but this has been the biggest thing I've had to deal with. Surgery was an option, but I decided not to get that and just rehab it and it has honestly been one of the best decisions."
The injury was just a setback for the Missourian to appear in the Orange and Blue, although he missed the first 11 games of the season. But once he stepped on the mound at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex, Plohr settled right back into the role he knew quite well.
Plohr transferred to Carson-Newman after spending his first two years in collegiate baseball at Saint Louis University in his home state. The former Billiken spent two seasons in the Gateway to the West and totaled 40 appearances at the Division I level. In his two seasons, Plohr accumulated a 6.56 ERA and tallied one save with a 2-6 record. He pitched a career-high six innings against Fordham on April 25, 2015.
He returned to the mound against Northwood (Mich.) for his Carson-Newman debut with two scoreless innings of work. Plohr's day against the Timberwolves was a high-stress situation after Northwood had runners advance to third by virtue of lead-off walks in each inning. The junior finished the contest with three walks and three strikeouts.
After appearing out the bullpen in his next two contests, coach Tom Griffin pegged Plohr to start game one of the doubleheader against Mars Hill on March 12, but the right-hander didn't last longer than an inning; the Lions pelted him for six hits and five earned runs for his first career loss.
Since the Mars Hill contest, the junior has returned to the bullpen, which is a place that Plohr feels comfortable.
"During my first two years at my old school, I was out of the bullpen for the majority of games so I am used to it," Plohr said. "Obviously, the Mars Hill start didn't go ideal, but I'm just willing to help this team anyway I can.
"Wherever (the coaching staff) sees my best fit, I want to do. And I'm all in for it."
Plohr's record now sits at 0-2 after losing against Coker last weekend, but he is on pace for his career-best ERA, which is currently 4.26. He has struck out 17 batters with seven walks and seven hits against his name in eight total appearances.
The Division I transfer has enjoyed every moment at Mossy Creek and is thankful for his chance to the Eagles during his final two seasons of collegiate baseball.
"Honestly, I've loved every second I've been here. Griff and the coaching staff have really embraced me along with the team. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity and I'm just happy to be here," Plohr said.
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