Pitching for a Cause

Diamond Dons Step Up to ‘Strike Out Malaria’

Bob Mott ’12Bob Mott ’12 stands next to a mosquito net at a Kenyan hospital. Photo courtesy of Bob Mott.

It’s typical for a pitcher to aim for a high strikeout total, but Bob Mott ’12 set a target for himself and the rest of the 2012 season’s pitching staff—400 strikeouts—for an unusual reason.

The goal is part of a campaign that business major Mott started last year to raise awareness and funds to purchase bed nets to help prevent malaria, which kills nearly one million people a year world-wide. Mott and USF teammates Cameron Love ’12, Nik Balog ’12, and Jared Denham ’12 created “Home Runs for Health” as part of a service-learning project for their Management and Organizational Dynamics class.

Through donations from USF baseball players and pledges from other sources, the USF baseball team raised $10 for every home run hit during the 2011 season, enough to purchase one insecticide-treated net through Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign that purchases bed nets for families in malaria-risk areas of Africa.

Last year’s campaign was a success; after just one season, the USF baseball team was able to help purchase 110 nets.

  • 224

    Number of student athletes on campus
  • 14

    NCAA Division I teams that currently play for USF
  • 8

    National championships won, since 1949, by USF NCAA Division I teams

Now in its second year, Mott’s campaign has been renamed “Strike Out Malaria” because “there are more strikeouts than home runs in baseball,” Mott noted. This year, the Dons set a goal of raising $3 every time a USF pitcher strikes out a batter, estimating that USF pitchers would log 400 strikeouts by the end of the season and raise $1200—enough to purchase 120 nets. At the time of writing, the team was averaging more than $4 per strikeout and had raised enough to purchase 150 nets with weeks left in the season.

Hung above beds, insecticide-treated nets are an effective way to stop the spread of malaria by protecting people from malaria-carrying mosquitoes while they sleep and preventing the mosquitoes from flying on to infect others.

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