How do you stay prepared for the opportunity to pinch hit during a game?
"It just starts from the very beginning of the game. If I am not in it from the beginning of the game ... you cannot just flip a switch - it has got to be there from the first pitch to the last pitch. I just try to take that mentality every day whenever it is my turn it is my turn; you never know so you try to stay ready."
What is it like when you come up to the plate and achieve success?
"Well, it is exciting. It is a little nerve racking because it's getting late and maybe it will not happen today and there it is and you go up there hoping that you are in the game mentally - prepared and ready for that at bat - and it is always nice when you actually make contact."
The team has had a tough stretch recently. Can you discuss how senior leaders Mike Cavasinni and Ryan Graepel have handled adversity in the clubhouse?
"Cavi has been here a long time and Graepel has been here a long time and they kind of know that you are going to hit rough patches and speed bumps and the only way we are going to get through them is to stay together as a team - make sure we are all on the same page. We don't want to have guys drifting away from the main goals, which we don't have anybody on this team that does that. We just stay together and we will get through it."
What is the atmosphere like in the clubhouse around the team after tough losses, which in recent years seemed only to occur in Omaha, but this season have been more common?
"It is a lot quieter in the locker room, like in the loss to Coastal [Carolina] or the loss to William and Mary. It is just kind of different, something that we are not used."
What would it be like if the team missed the ACC Tournament?
"It would be a sad day for us. One of our goals was to go deep in the postseason and to not make the ACC Tournament is definitely not what we want to have happen. We are going to worry about this weekend and try not to look too far ahead, but at the same time it is looming in the back of our heads."
What would you say that the team has learned about the freshman pitchers so far now at the mid-point of the season?
"I would say that we have learned a lot - they are tough kids and they are hitting their little rough patch right now and they are still grinding and we are still going to grind along with them right now. We are learning they have guts and they keep going out there and that is what they have got to do."
Speaking of pitching - you were a very effective left handed pitcher in high school - do you have any desire to get back out on the mound?
"Absolutely not. I have no desire to pitch ever again. Because my arm was always bothering me when I was pitching and now my arm has been free of the pain for two years and I want to keep it that way."
With your work at first base, which of the pitchers on the team has the best move to first base?
"I would say probably [Colin] Bates. Because I don't know if there is something about his release point when he is throwing over - I can never see the ball until it is right in front of my face. I have this amount [snaps fingers] of time before the ball hits me right in the nose to make the grab and then tag on the guy."
Major League Baseball recently celebrated Jackie Robinson Day and you wear No. 42 in honor of him and your father. What do you think that baseball as a sport can do to promote getting more African-Americans involved with the sport today?
"I think it has got to be that we have to get more African-American kids the opportunity to get out and play. It is easy to go and pick up a basketball or a football because you can do those almost by yourself or with one or two people. It is harder to get eight or nine guys out on a field and then another eight or nine guys out on the field to play against them in a game. So I think we have to find a place to provide the necessary equipment and facilities to get them out there and spread the word a little bit. Then we have guys coming up like Jason Heyward [with the Atlanta Braves] who I think could be one of those key factors to get African-Americans back to baseball."