news-category: Athletics

Gardner-Webb Alumnus Mason Miller Records 10 Saves for Oakland A’s This Season  

Pitcher Named American League Reliever of the Month

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Dominant, flamethrower, electric — all adjectives describing Oakland A’s rookie closer and former Gardner-Webb baseball pitcher Mason Miller. Since the start of the 2024 MLB season, Miller has continued to wow spectators and commentators with his fastballs and strikeouts.

In April, Miller was named American League Reliever of the month. “I’m proud of the award, and I believe it reflects the hard work I have put in,” Miller observed. “I’m blessed to have the opportunity to compete at the highest level day in and day out.”

Image from Mason Miller’s Instagram

On the list of the 12 fastest strikeout pitches through April, Miller’s name appeared nine times. As of May 28, Miller has 10 saves and a 1.96 ERA. He struck out 45 batters in 23 innings. His recent success is a testament to his characteristic work ethic and determination. Miller suffered a mild sprain in his right elbow last season that kept him out of the game nearly four months. This season, the A’s moved him to the bullpen to protect his arm. The switch to relief added 2 mph to Miller’s four-seam fastball, which sat at 98.3 last season. The right-hander is down to just two pitches — fastball and slider.

His mom, Kirstin Miller, told MLB reporter Martin Gallegos, that her son is an overcomer. She shared how he returned to college and playing baseball in 2018 just a few days after being diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.

He kept working, gaining weight and improving his fastball and transferred to Gardner-Webb’s Division I program when players were given a fifth season of eligibility because of COVID. He began working on his Master of Business Administration and pitched one season. He earned first-team All-Big South Conference honors in 2021 after going 8-1 with a 3.30 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 92.2 innings pitched. He led the Big South and ranked No. 21 nationally with his strikeout total — which ranked second in program history for a single season. His achievements gained national attention, and he was picked up by the A’s in the third round of the MLB draft.

Miller reflected on his growth at Gardner-Webb. “My time at GWU in the baseball program allowed to me to continue to develop my skills while learning to compete at a higher collegiate level,” he asserted. “The preparation and commitment increased as well as being able to train alongside other talented teammates. Coach (Jim) Chester gave me the chance to be a leader and put me at the front of our pitching staff, showing his belief in my abilities.”

Chester stays in touch with Mason and is excited to see him doing well. “We knew success was in his future, but maybe not to the extent it has reached here early in the 2024 MLB season,” he affirmed. “Mason was obviously a talented baseball player, but his work ethic and character separated him from the rest.”

Sources: MLB.com, Oakland A’s, GWUsports.com

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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