By Ryan Connelly
Nearly a year after leaving Rider following his junior season to pursue a career in the major leagues, it looks like Nick Margevicius made the right decision. The former Bronc ace was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres and has been successful early in his professional baseball career.
Margevicius said, “It’s pretty cool to play at the next level. Playing professional baseball is something I dreamed about as a little kid and it’s awesome to be living that dream out.”
His journey began in North Royalton, Ohio, where Margevicius attended Saint Ignatius High School. In his sophomore season, Margevicius pitched a perfect game. During the 2013 season, he led his team to Sectionals, Regionals, Districts and the State finals.
In his junior and senior year, Margevicius won pitcher of the year. He also played for the USA Today All-Northeast Ohio team. During his high school career, including summer league and the regular season, he compiled an outstanding record of 41-8. Along with success on the diamond, Margevicius was part of his high school’s chapter of the National Honor Society.
“His work ethic was second to no one in our club,” said Rider Head Coach Barry Davis. “He is one of the best players I have had the pleasure of coaching and one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. He is genuine, kind and someone you want on your team.”
Margevicius went on to play Division I baseball at Rider. In 2015, he came in as a freshman and started in 12 games and pitched 65 innings. In those innings, he recorded 50 strikeouts and only allowed 31 earned runs. In his rookie campaign, he was 4-1 against MAAC teams including a shutout against Quinnipiac.
He finished the year with an ERA of 4.29 and was the MAAC and ECAC Rookie of the Week May 5-11 during that same season. During his first year, he was second on the team with innings pitched and strikeouts. His best game that year was when he struck out 10 Canisius batters in only 4.1 innings.
Margevicius managed to keep that momentum going into his second year at Rider. Margevicius’ record did not reflect how well he was doing as a pitcher. In his 2016 season, he finished with a record of 4-6. That season, the team was good defensively but had trouble producing runs.
However, Margevicius’ stats spoke for themselves. He threw his best ERA, 2.57, during his collegiate career in his sophomore season. He also threw 77 innings and 67 strikeouts while only allowing 22 earned runs and three home runs. One of his best moments during that season was when he struck out 11 Sacred Heart batters in just seven innings, earning him MAAC Pitcher of the Week. After the season was over, Margevicius received Second Team All-MAAC along with MAAC Academic honors. He finished the season second best in the MAAC and was tied for leading the team in wins.
Davis said, “Nick had a great three years and he certainly could not pass on the opportunity he has dreamed and worked for his entire life. He has been missed. You cannot replace a Nick Margevicius.”
Consistency is a big part of being an athlete. Even though he had an outstanding performance his sophomore year, he came back looking to do even better in his junior season as captain.
Margevicius stepped on the mound 14 times his junior year — 13 of those games he was the starting pitcher. He was put in the game once as a closer and was able to finish off a clutch save.
For two of those 13 starts, he pitched the entirety of the game. He pitched more innings that season than ever before with 87.1 innings pitched and he recorded 79 strikeouts while only allowing 28 earned runs and two home runs.
Margevicius flipped his record from the last season going 6-4 and was named MAAC Pitcher of the Week three times in his 2016 season. He was the College Sports Madness MAAC Player of the Week on April 18 and earned First Team All-MAAC honors. Along with his great performance on the field, he was also doing well off of it; Margevicius was named to the MAAC All-Academic team.
Today, Margevicius pitches for the San Diego Padres Minor league team. Since 2017, he’s been on three different Padres’ teams.
“I feel good about my performance so far in the minors,” Margevicius said. “I don’t really think about it much though because future performance is the only thing that really matters if I want to reach my ultimate goal of playing in the major leagues.”
So far in his career, he has stepped onto the mound 14 times and is excelling. Margevicius had a career record of 5-1 with an ERA of 1.70 and one save following a start on April 23.
He also recorded 93 strikeouts in only 69 innings pitched, while only allowing 13 earned runs and two homeruns.
“As far as baseball goes, I really have no idea where I’ll be,” he said. “There are so many things that can happen so I try not to think about it. Off the field, I’m engaged to Shannon Kelly from the Rider soccer team so we’re really looking forward to our wedding coming up in 2019.”