Closing pitcher breaks 20-year record in career saves

SF State Gator pitcher Cory Davis takes a portrait after the game at Maloney Field Friday, April 24. Davis has made 21 saves this season.(David Henry / Xpress)

Standing at 6 feet and 3 inches tall, Cory Davis is a right-handed pitcher for the SF State men’s baseball team. Davis is 23 years old, loves baseball and country music and is also recognized as a record-breaking athlete.

Davis saved his 17th game after the double header against Cal State Dominguez March 21, beating out the previous record holder Joey Diaz, who held the school record with 16 saves. Davis now holds the school record with 21 saves during his career and is currently second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and 21st in the nation with his saves in this season alone.

“It was awesome,” Davis said. “It’s a record that has been held for 20 years and I’ve only been here for two years.”

Davis transferred to SF State after two years at Orange Coast College in Southern California, leaving his family home in Chino Hills to pursue his bachelor’s degree in communications and a career in baseball.

“Being able to go out there and break the record in two years was pretty cool,” Davis said. “But I hope I get some more opportunities for the rest of the season and kind of just keep building it up even more.”

The Gator said he tries to keep his head in the game, avoiding popular superstitions and thinking only about his competition every time his foot hits the mound.

SF State Gator pitcher Cory Davis takes a portrait after the game at Maloney Field Friday, April 24. Davis has made 21 saves this season.(David Henry / Xpress)

SF State Gator pitcher Cory Davis takes a portrait after the game at Maloney Field Friday, April 24. Davis has made 21 saves this season.(David Henry / Xpress)

“Usually right before I go out to the mound before the first pitch, I wipe the rubber off with my cleats and it kind of gets me prepared for the upcoming batters,” Davis said.

He said he considers this a pre-game ritual but avoids doing the same thing before every game in fear that, if he forgets, he will mess up and have something to blame.

Head coach Mike Cummins said Davis is a hard worker. Cummins has coached for over 35 years and has had numerous players break records in his time as a coach.

“But it is special every time,” Cummins said.

He also said Beau Moorehead, the assistant baseball coach, is responsible for helping Davis succeed as a pitcher. Moorehead practices with Davis before every game to fine tune the pitcher’s skills.

“As a coaching staff we set out to find and develop a pitcher who could handle the responsibility of having the outcome of the game in his hands,” Moorehead said. “Though he had not pitched that role before, Cory shows signs, mentally and physically, of being able to excel in that role. From there we were able to help cultivate a dominant force in the back of our bullpen.”

Moorehead said he is extremely proud of Davis and his accomplishment. When the record broke, however, he said he witnessed more of a reaction from the team than Davis himself.

“For Cory, it seemed like another day at the office,” Moorehead said.

“Cory is a good teammate, he and I joke around a lot with each other and he’s a good guy to have on our team,” said outfielder Nick Jackson. “He’s got a great mentality for a closer and it’s always good knowing he’s coming in because he’s going to challenge every hitter and go at them. He’s definitely done more than we expected in his last two years.”

Davis said he hopes to get drafted, ideally for the Anaheim Angels or an independent ball team. Reflecting back on breaking the record, Davis said it was the one time he felt the most successful in his career.

“I had so much energy, I was pretty pumped,” said Davis. “I felt like everything clicked perfectly. I was throwing pretty hard, hitting my spots and I felt like it was just the key part of the season so far.”