Jerry Mulderig ’14, a Behavioral Neuroscience major, is excelling on the baseball field as well as in the classroom this season. And though he’s got his gaze set on medical school, the Langhorne, Pa., resident is expected to be offered a chance to play professionally this summer.
A 2010 graduate of Council Rock South High School, Mulderig has led the Broncs (27-17 as of May 3) to first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference as the ultimate utility player, splitting his time between the outfield, the designated hitter slot, and the pitcher’s mound.
“Jerry has had a great start,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis. “He has been our most consistent player. He is doing it with the bat and his legs. He is versatile. His speed combined with potential power is a good combination.”
As a left-handed hitter, Mulderig leads Rider in batting, at .360, on-base percentage (.460) and stolen bases, with 14 in 18 attempts. He also increases the attendance at home games when he is scheduled to pitch, attracting the interest of six to 12 professional scouts, radar guns in tow.
“I guess they like the potential they see,” said the 6-4, 205-pound right-hander of the scouts.
“He is being scouted as a pitcher,” said Davis, who has seen 20 of his former players sign professional contracts. “The question is, can he develop into a professional pitcher? The draft is such a tough read, but it only takes one person to really like you. We'll see what happens in the coming months. I will not be surprised by anything.”
For his part, Mulderig enjoys the watchful eye of the talent evaluators.
“I think the scouts being at the games affects me positively,” said Mulderig, whose fastball is clocked in the low- to mid-90s. “I have to do well to keep them coming back to look at me. That is the ultimate goal, to play at the highest level.”
Rider has had 45 players sign pro contracts in the last 43 years, with six reaching the major leagues.
Despite his success and all the attention from the scouts, Mulderig has only pitched eight times this year, but has struck out 12 in just 16 innings.
“If I could put the time into pitching that I put into hitting, things might be a little different,” Mulderig said. “But, we don’t need me as a pitcher with the staff we have.”
Rider possesses the best team earned run average in the MAAC, yielding just 3.38 runs per game.
However, with a 3.34 grade point average, Mulderig’s statistics in the classroom are equally impressive.
“Jerry is in a difficult (academic) program,” Davis said. “His class schedule includes labs at conflicting times, which makes it very difficult to get the on-field work needed to be as good as he can be. It is tough enough, but he has it tougher than most. He has handled it very well and has found a way to make it work.”
Professional baseball notwithstanding, Mulderig is still looking forward to continuing his studies.
“I plan on going to medical school after all this is over,” he said.
But, when Mulderig says “all this,” he’s talking about baseball – at Rider, and beyond.
Mulderig was named Rider’s Most Improved Player in 2012, after a high school career that saw him earn first-team all-league honors at Council Rock South as a second baseman and third-team all-league honors as a pitcher his senior year.
“We liked his power, his speed and his arm strength,” said Davis, the only Division I coach to recruit Mulderig. “We took a small gamble on his upside, and he looked as if he could play a few positions as well.”
Mulderig credits his improvement to hard work and his “coachability.”
“My work ethic is much better now than it was in high school,” Mulderig said. “I’ve learned a lot here at Rider.”
Three years ago, only one Division I program was interested in Mulderig. Now, a dozen pro scouts watch him every time he pitches. “It’s exciting,” Mulderig said. “I’ve played with a chip on my shoulder because nobody wanted me.”
Now, it seems as if the next move will be Mulderig’s choice.