The team started off the season with some adversity, losing the first series of the year. How are you, as a senior, imparting your knowledge on the newcomers?
“Just to keep constantly reminding them that the season is so long and just to relax and play the game that we have been taught to play and love to play and work hard every day and just let it be another game. Just come back even with the adversity and everything; just come back and have a short memory with baseball and just keep grinding and working hard and things will come our way.”
What’s been your approach at the plate? In particular, on Sunday during the comeback after trailing by two runs in the bottom of the 9th…
“It is just all about mindset. I have been in that situation plenty of times and I’ve had some success in those situations. So just things like that you know it really helps me to tell myself to stay relaxed and you will be fine. Just still it’s another at bat. You have to relax and look for your pitch and if it doesn’t come lay off of it. Don’t be afraid to hit with two strikes. We got a nice bounce off that dirt ball so it worked perfectly for us.”
What kind of message does Coach Fox send to the team in having Skye Bolt bunt the two base runners into scoring position with no outs in the bottom of the ninth in your opinion?
“That is just team baseball right there down to a 'T.' Coach said it doesn’t matter who you are in the lineup or what spot you hit In the lineup but you have to be able to bunt and move guys over to help our team win. That is just a pure sign of what Coach preaches all the time. It is good. He knew that [Michael] Russell and me were after him and it showed confidence in us and that we would get the job done by telling Skye to move the guys over to get them into scoring position.”
What is your perspective on the performance of the starting pitchers in the early going of the 2014 season?
“They have done great. Since our offense has been struggling a little bit they have done a really good job of doing their job and keeping other teams to a run or two. You can’t ask for much more than that. They have done really good. I have been impressed with them.”
What have you seen from freshman southpaw starting pitcher Zac Gallen so far?
“Yeah, he has really stepped up. I really like when he is on the mound. You know what you are going to get. He is a very consistent guy and he is going to go in there and throw strikes and he is going to pitch to contact. That is what our coaches preach – pitching and defense wins the games. You have a guy like Gallen and he is going to throw strikes and you play defense behind him; I have got a good feeling that he is going to hold teams to low scoring.”
…What do you think about the action on his slider?
“He has a very good slider with his arm slot being over a little bit and he can pump [fastballs] in there at 90-91 mph, then you throw a tight good spin slider in like that there it really throws hitters off. It is a really good pitch.”
What has freshman Wood Myers shown you starting at second base?
“He has stepped up. He has been a good spark in our lineup. He is very good defensively. He can run and he knows that if he puts the ball on the ground he can have a shot. He has been spraying the gaps with line drives. He reminds me a lot of Tommy Coyle when he played here.”
Do you have concerns about the slow start to the running game?
“You know really we have not been that concerned about that r because we have not been getting as many hits as we would like and not getting guys on base. It is not that we have been striking out a ton , we have been putting the ball in play but we have not found any holes, and we have hit some balls hard and smoked some balls right at guys. That is just part of baseball. As the season rolls on I think the emotions will die down and those balls will find holes and we will get guys on and we will start showing other teams that we really can run. We have a ton of speed on this team and we will start stealing a lot of bags.”
What was your offseason like preparing for your last collegiate season?
“Just knowing it is your last go around you have to go after it 100%. I have been getting with Coach Gatz a lot and been very serious in the weight room and when I went home for Christmas break and everything just continued to work out and get stronger and be the best that I can for my last year.”