Saint Mary’s Grad Scores Career in Baseball After Studying Astrophysics

Linda Lenhoff

Astrophysics major and Math minor Samantha Schultz ’17 once dreamed of getting her PhD in particle physics, with its demanding emphasis on math. Then she read Moneyball, the book about Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane’s use of mathematical tabulations in sports—and realized her heart really belonged to baseball. The Mercury News and New York Post recently ran a story about Schultz’s move from astrophysics to pitching analysis for the hometown team. 

“One of my biggest strengths is to take this complicated stuff and put it into baseball language,” Schultz told Mercury News reporter Shayna Rubin. 

Schultz found herself drawn to pitching after following Jason Schmidt and Matt Cain, but Tim Lincecum’s unusual delivery caught her eye.

“It was the dominance,” she said. “Watching him be dominant with mechanics that are not routine and something you wouldn’t teach. The beauty of his change-up. The way he used his pitches, it made me fall in love with pitching as its own art form.”

Schultz, who once worked for SMC’s baseball team as official scorer--without pay--was recruited for an internship with the NY Mets by a diversity fellowship program offered through Major League Baseball. 

“Every team that I’ve ever interviewed for has been very interested in the physics degree,” Schultz told the newspaper. “How I can leverage the degree, how they can apply it to pitching and even beyond the actual pitching. I think as someone with a physics degree—my brain works a bit differently than somebody with, say, a computer science degree.”

“I hope my career and story inspire any underrepresented group to get into baseball,” Schultz said. “Not just women and physicists, but anyone who has a passion for the game.