Most pitchers and catchers have a special relationship on the mound, but one Gophers battery has even deeper bonds.
When redshirt senior reliever Ty McDevitt looked for his sign on Tuesday against North Dakota State, he was looking back at his younger brother Cole.
Cole McDevitt is in the middle of his first season on campus and has caught his older brother a few times so far this season, including a scoreless seventh inning on Tuesday.
“It’s really awesome just to see them both out there together, not only on the field together but pitching and catching,” Lori McDevitt, Ty and Cole’s mother, said. “[To see them] throwing back and forth to each other is just a blast.”
Ty McDevitt said pitching to Cole at the college level is something he never even considered before this season, since he’s older by four years. He’s in his fifth season with the Gophers after having Tommy John surgery and redshirting in 2014.
“I wasn’t even close to playing with him [before this season]. That was never even a thought,” Ty McDevitt said. “So it’s pretty odd, emotional a little bit when you think about it.”
Head coach John Anderson said Ty McDevitt talked about not retuning this season to focus on being an instructor at a training facility in Burnsville, Minn., something Cole McDevitt also does. Eventually, he decided to play, and Ty McDevitt has appeared in seven games so far this season with a 3.18 ERA.
“I think one of the driving forces was the fact that he wanted to play with his brother for one year,” Anderson said.
Cole McDevitt has started three games for Minnesota this season and is batting .471 with two home runs in 17 at-bats. The Apple Valley, Minn., native said the choice to come to Minnesota was easy for him with his family nearby and his older brother on campus.
Anderson said having the guidance of his older brother during his first year has helped Cole develop into a player with a lot of potential.
“They have different personalities, but I think there’s a closeness between the two of them. Ty’s tried to help him while he’s been here, and he’s been a good mentor for him,” Anderson said. “[Cole McDevitt] works tirelessly every day. He’s coachable.”