From UMO Media Relations
BALTIMORE, Maryland — Former University of Mount Olive baseball player Bruce Zimmermann made his Major League debut Thursday night, starting game two for the Baltimore Orioles inside the friendly walls of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Md. Zimmermann pitched three complete innings, but they would be ones he would never forget.
Zimmermann, a Woodstock, Md. native, became the second UMO Trojan to have his Major League debut this season after Kodi Whitley debuted for the St. Louis Cardinals on July 27. The left-hander started his debut on the right end, retiring his first batter in Randy Arozarena on a flyout to right. The bottom of the first then became a bit rocky for the Maryland native as he allowed the next two batters to reach base, before surrendering a home run as the Rays went up 3-0. Zimmermann allowed only two more runs before being pulled in the top of the forth and paired his outing with two strikeouts.
In an interview post-game with The Baltimore Sun, Zimmermann spoke about the first start of his major league career.
“[I] just tried to take it all in, to be honest with you,” Zimmermann said. “I’ve been to this stadium numerous times with family and friends to watch the Orioles, but it was a little different feeling when I got to the stadium today, just taking it all in and realizing this was the culmination of a lot of hard work and just trying to make the most of it.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said Zimmermann “left with the lead, and we didn’t hold it. I just thought he left a couple pitches up.” “[Zimmermann] threw the changeup up to [Willy] Adames for a homer, and then the center-cut fastball there to [Hunter] Renfroe, which was really the damage that he gave up. I just thought he had a tough time getting the ball down in the zone. I thought he showed good stuff, good life to his fastball. Just made a couple pitches that were up in the zone, and paid for it.”
Zimmermann also spoke on his performance in the game: “Overall, I thought it went well. I got hurt on a couple pitches, but I didn’t do myself any favors with the walk and the hit-by-pitch in the first inning. Obviously, it’s the same game but it’s faster up here. You can’t make those kind of mistakes. But overall, I felt like my stuff was good. Definitely a start that I can build on, and I’m looking forward to my next one.”
Zimmermann was the third-highest draft pick in Mount Olive Baseball history after being selected 140th overall in the fifth round by the Atlanta Braves in 2017. While a Trojan in his senior season he earned NCCSIA All-State honors, First-Team All-Conference Carolinas and ABCA, D2CCA, and NCBWA second-team all-Southeast region honors. Along with being named an CoSIDA Academic All-American.