Clearing the haze: How Sebastian Mueller became a focal point for Quinnipiac baseball


Casey Wiederhold

Senior first baseman and outfielder Sebastian Mueller is tied for second in home runs for Quinnipiac baseball this season, with six.

Benjamin Yeargin, Managing Editor

 To put it plainly, Quinnipiac baseball’s Sebastian Mueller had a disappointing 2022 season. In 26 games played, the junior first baseman/outfielder posted a .215 batting average, .287 on-base percentage and a .380 slugging percentage. 

He showed flashes of greatness, like a 3-3 performance against St. John’s on March 25, 2022, but could never consistently piece together the brilliance he was capable of. 

Fast forward to present day, when “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix comes on at the Quinnipiac baseball field and Mueller steps up to the dish, something’s going to happen. The Califon, New Jersey, native sports an impressive slashline of .285/.371/.467, holds the three spot in the lineup and has tallied career highs in nearly every offensive category. 

So what changed? 

It started on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, when the Bobcats took on Yale in Hamden. 

“I took a really bad batting practice,” Mueller said. “And I was like I don’t know why my swing feels terrible now. From that moment on, it’s just been tweaking with stuff until I finally found it.” 

This season, Mueller has become what he’s always been capable of — Quinnipiac’s starting first baseman and more importantly, an all-encompassing ballplayer. With what he can do at the plate and defensively, Mueller is everything the Bobcats need for a playoff push. 

“He’s just a pure hitter,” senior outfielder Anthony Donofrio said on April 14. “He’s one of those guys where you put all your confidence into as a team and you know he goes out there and produces day in and day out. He’s a huge asset to this team.” 

Arriving in Hamden as a freshman in 2021, Mueller had a productive first campaign. In a year plagued by COVID-19, he hit .253, with a .656 OPS and five extra-base hits. It was nothing spectacular, but still a stellar season. 

His freshman campaign had him slotted to start at designated hitter/first base for the Bobcats in 2022. The pressure to perform well affected Mueller drastically. 

“I put too much pressure on myself,” Mueller said. “I was like ‘you have to be the guy, you have to hit .370 and just put up video game numbers’ … When I’m super stressed and trying to do too much, I’m a horrible baseball player.” 

In an awful feedback loop, the more stress Mueller put on himself to put up unrealistic numbers, the worse he ended up doing. That lasted throughout all of 2022 and it didn’t end until Mueller focused on controlling what he could and remained even keeled. 

He escaped the feedback loop and got to work. 

Signs of progress started to appear during Mueller’s summer with the now-defunct Winnipesaukee Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He showed flashes of what he’s capable of, and in 23 games and 65 at-bats, Mueller hit .262 with a .724 OPS while tallying 17 hits and five extra-base hits. 

“His opportunities were limited,” head coach John Delaney said on April 19. “Seb didn’t take that as a downfall, he continued to work.” 

Carrying that momentum into 2023, Mueller is tied for third on the team with six home runs, tied for third in doubles, tied for fourth in hits, fourth in OPS, RBIs and walks and fifth in OBP. 

“He came off a good summer, so I think he got a chance to get comfortable again,” Delaney said. “Now he’s doing what we always expected him to do. He’s putting together some great at-bats and giving us a great chance.” 

The resiliency needed to come back and stay level after such a roller coaster of a career up to that point is a testament to who Mueller is as a person. 

“He’s a great dude. He’s awesome, he’s relentless and fearless,” junior outfielder Jared Zimbardo said on April 19. “Having him behind all of us is so awesome, I can’t ask for anything else.” 

Besides rebounding offensively, Mueller’s defense continues to add a side to his game that only helps Quinnipiac, his .982 fielding percentage is fourth on the team. Also, Mueller’s flexibility at first base allows him to get runners out by just a step. 

“We were (playing) Iowa and I just stretched and went for it,” Mueller said. “I was like, ‘I think I can do this’ and I got all the way and I was like alright … buy a couple extra inches to hopefully get some more guys out.” 

Mueller’s resurgence coincides with a Quinnipiac team that’s surprising the MAAC. Compared to last year’s eighth place finish, the Bobcats currently sit tied with Niagara for fifth in the conference, right in the middle of the playoff hunt. 

The team just feels different. Quinnipiac baseball swept a MAAC opponent for the first time since May 2019, took games from tough teams in Rider and Canisius and could make the postseason. Mueller knows it’s different too. 

“(The) culture is definitely different, a lot more guys keep fighting,” Mueller said on April 19. “(When) we go down three or four it’s not like oh, no, the game’s over. We know we’re never out.”