Pete Maki is in his seventh season as the Lions' top assistant coach and was promoted to associate head coach during the summer of 2012. Maki serves as Columbia's pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
The Columbia pitching staff has been a model of success under Maki's leadership. During each of the last three season, in Ivy League-only games, the Lions have held the lowest team ERA (3.34-2012, 1.89-2013, 2.51-2014), held opposing batters to the lowest batting average (.250, .213, .204), racked up the highest number of strikeouts (140, 153, 158), and given up the fewest hits (151, 123, 119). Columbia league-low 119 hits allowed in 2014 was 29 fewer than second-place Penn.
For the third consecutive season, Columbia had a pitcher taken in the MLB Amateur Draft, as staff ace David Speer went in the 27th round to the Cleveland Indians. Speer helped lead a shutdown staff under Maki's leadership. Columbia posted a team-ERA of 3.36, the fifth lowest in progam history, matching the 1968 team. The Lions also tallied 12 saves, matching the program record set in the previous season and sat down 300 batters for the second straight year, compiling 343 K's.
Speer became the second pitcher during Maki's tenure at Columbia to earn Ivy League Pitcher of the Year accolades, becoming the first unanimous selection since 2004. Fellow hurlers, George Thanopoulos (second team), Kevin Roy (honorable mention) and Adam Cline (honorable mention) picked up All-Ivy League nods. Thanopoulos was also named to the Gregg Olson Award watch list, recognizing college baseball's breakout player of the year.
In 2013, the pitching staff set the program standard for strikeouts in a season, sitting down 357 opposing batters. As a staff, the Lions ranked 29th nationally with a 2.48:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
Columbia also set a new program record with 12 saves in 2013. The final save of the season came at the NCAA Fullerton Regional Tournament when Alex Black capped a 6-5 win in the 13th inning over New Mexico. Columbia held the Lobos, the nation's highest ranked offense, scoreless over the final seven innings to earn its first NCAA victory in school history.
In the 2013 MLB amateur draft, closer Black was selected in the 29th round by the Kansas City Royals. Following the draft, starting pitcher Tim Giel signed a free agent contract with the New York Yankees. Giel was one of four Columbia pitchers to earn All-Ivy League accolades in 2013. Starters David Speer and Joey Donino received first and second team recognition, respectively, while reliever Kevin Roy joined Giel as an honorable mention selection. Since Maki took over pitching coach duties six years ago, the Lions have had 13 All-Ivy League selections at pitcher.
In 2012, senior right-hander Pat Lowery was named first team All-Ivy League and Stefan Olson gained honorable mention All-Ivy honors for the second straight year. After the 2012 season, Lowery was selected in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In 2010, Columbia's pitchers led the Ivy League in team earned run average for the first time in 23 seasons, when the 1987 staff led the nation with a 2.12 staff ERA. The Columbia staff also set a then school record for strikeouts in a season with 293. The Lions were also one of the best teams in the nation at limiting walks, allowing just 2.73 bases on balls per nine innings to rank ninth nationally.
During that 2010 campaign, sophomore Pat Lowery posted a 5-3 record with a 3.46 ERA and held opponents to a .224 batting average on his way to Ivy League Pitcher of the Year honors. Junior Dan Bracey was a two-time Ivy League Pitcher of the Week and finished the regular season tied for the league lead in strikeouts. As a staff in 2010, Columbia's pitchers had better than a 2.5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, one of the best in the country.
Maki reunited with his former head coach Brett Boretti when he joined the Columbia coaching staff in February 2008. A 2004 graduate of Franklin & Marshall, Maki was a left-handed pitcher under Boretti's tutelage at F&M.
“First and foremost, Pete is an excellent teacher,” notes Boretti. “I like his style of communication, and he has been a great fit for our program and the young men with whom we work.”
Maki previously served as an assistant coach at the University of New Haven from 2006-07. Maki oversaw the pitching staff that led the East Coast Conference in earned run average and strikeout/walk ratio in both 2006 and 2007. In those two seasons, three of his pitchers went on to play professionally.
Maki graduated from Franklin & Marshall with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology. During his senior season, he earned six saves as a closer, and posted a team-best 3.42 ERA. He was named the team’s “Cy Young” award winner.
“Pete was a very smart player who overcame a lot of adversity (injuries) to make himself into an excellent pitcher,” Boretti adds. “He pitched at the highest levels of college baseball, including the Cape Cod League.”
Maki, who hails from Woodbury, Conn., graduated second in his class at Nonnewaug High School, and was an all-state academic choice in his senior year. He and his wife, Elisabeth, live in New Jersey with their son Will.