Matt Pushard, a Brewer native and former University of Maine pitcher, pitching for the Beloit Sky Carp in the Miami Marlins organization. Pushard was recently promoted to the Marlins' AA team the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Credit: Justin Nuoffer /

It has been a busy four weeks for Brewer’s Matt Pushard.

Pushard, an All-America East second team pitcher at the University of Maine a year ago, has been promoted from the Florida Marlins’ High-A Beloit Sky Carp to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the AA Southern League.

He also got married to Sophia Narofsky on June 10 in Harmony.

Pushard got called up to the Blue Wahoos for the second time in 12 days on July 2 and is having a terrific season.

He has made two appearances for the Blue Wahoos and hasn’t allowed a hit or run over three innings. He has struck out three and walked one. He also picked up a win.

In 17 appearances for the Wisconsin-based Sky Carp, he was 1-1 with six saves and a 1.21 earned-run average. He allowed only 13 hits and struck out 29 in 22 ⅓ innings. He walked five.

He also had one scoreless inning in relief for Class A Jupiter and struck out two and earned a save.

Between the three teams this season, he is 2-1 with seven saves and a sparkling 1.03 ERA. He has struck out 34 and walked six in 26 ⅓ innings. He has seven saves and hasn’t allowed a home run.

“It has been a very busy couple of weeks travel-wise,” said the 25-year-old righthander, who was able to spend a week with his new wife and his family in Maine after the wedding, before returning to Wisconsin and then moving down to Florida.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Pushard said he hasn’t changed his approach at AA even though he said the hitters are a lot stronger than in High-A ball.

“I’ve just been trying to make sure I execute my pitches. You have to trust yourself and keep doing what got you here. Keep pounding the strike zone,” said Pushard, who signed as a free agent with the Marlins.

He thought he would have a good shot at being called up to AA because of his age.

“They aren’t going to stick a 25-year-old down in low A. I have to be consistent. I have to throw strikes and get guys out. That’s what they harp on at this level,” said Pushard. “I take it one step at a time. I stay within myself.”

Pushard had control problems last year for the Marlins’ Rookie League team, walking eight in just 3 ⅔ innings.

He said improving his mechanics has enabled him to throw strikes and now he has to maintain them.

“I keep the same release point and everything,” said Pushard, who throws a four-seam fastball in the 94 to 96 miles per hour range, a curve, a change-up and a slider, which is his newest pitch.

Pushard said he just takes things one pitch at a time.

“I have to make sure I stay healthy. It’s a long season. I have to do all the precautionary things to get my arm right in order to throw every night,” said Pushard.

He had been a closer in A ball, but he said he is now a middle reliever in AA.

“They have one true closer [Sean Reynolds] so the rest of us [relievers could throw any time from the fifth inning on,” said Pushard, who led America East in saves with nine in 2022.

Three other UMaine pitchers who were teammates of his are also pitching in the minor leagues.

Cody Laweryson from Moscow, Maine, is in AAA with the St. Paul Saints, the Minnesota Twins’ top minor league affiliate. He is 2-3 with a 4.78 ERA. The 14th round draft pick of the Twins has appeared in 24 games and has allowed 35 hits, including nine homers, in 37 ⅔ innings with 38 strikeouts and 20 walks.

He allowed just two homers in 94 ⅔ innings between A and AA last season.

Nick Sinacola, a seventh round draft pick of San Francisco, got off to a great start with the High-A Eugene (Oregon) Emeralds, posting a 1.06 ERA in April. But he has been roughed up to the tune of a 7.20 ERA ever since and is now 0-3 with a 5.37 ERA on the season. 

The former UMaine All-American and America East Pitcher of the Year has thrown 57 innings over 16 appearances and has allowed 63 hits while walking 20. He has allowed seven homers.

But he has struck out 72 in 57 innings for an average of 1.3 per inning.

The North Attleboro, Massachusetts, native became the first pitcher in UMaine history to be named a first team All-American.

Bangor native Justin Courtney was recently released by the Class AA Eastern League Binghamton Rumble Ponies, where he was 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA over 21 ⅓ innings. He allowed 18 hits, including seven homers and issued nine walks to go with 20 strikeouts.

But Courtney, who allowed one run in three innings over two stints with AAA Syracuse earlier this season, has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an independent pro league, and tossed three innings of hitless, four-strikeout ball in his first outing for them.