March 2, 2008

A Matador Minute With....

March 3, 2008

QuestionWhat's it been like to be part of one of the biggest freshman classes in the country?

Answer It's been a lot of fun. Especially right now a lot of guys have been getting a lot of playing time early on, so we know we're going to be pretty set for the future. That's one thing that's been really easy to get exciting about, the future of the program and where it's going.

Question The team just played this week against UCLA, which was in a similar situation just a couple of years ago with a big, talented freshman class coming in. What was it like to be on the field with a team full of juniors that were in the same position?

Answer It was a lot of fun. I talked to their catcher, Ryan Babineau, and I asked him "you guys all started as freshman, right? You were in the same situation as us, right?" and he said "Yeah." Those guys pumped as freshman to be playing and knowing that they were all going to be juniors together and be good down the line, and now they're second or third in the country. It's easy to see that we could be the same way, and even now, we feel like we've got a chance to be good.

Question What adjustments were you trying to make in the off-season to try to get ready for competition?

Answer The biggest thing for me was just the speed of the game. Everyone's faster, everyone's bigger, some guys have bee there already for a year or two, so they've got a bit of an advantage. It was just about catching up for me, catching up to the speed of the game. You get a taste of it in scout ball, but once you get to college, that's the biggest difference.

Question Has the learning curve gone up even further this week by actually getting into the games?

Answer Oh man, that first game, so much excitement, so much adrenaline. That's where it was obvious that the speed of the game was so different. It became clear that you've got to be well-prepared, and we felt that even as freshman we were ready to go in and contribute. We all had jitters, but once we got in they started to go away, and after a few games I think we're doing pretty well.

Question You've got family members that have been in collegiate athletics for a few years now. Have you gotten any advice from them about competing at the next level?

Answer I talked to Nate [Longshore, quarterback at Cal], and told him before on of his games, "Hey, now you're going to have to come out and see our games, 'cause I'm out here supporting you!" We had a conversation over winter break and he told me, "the biggest thing to remember is how you got there. The reason why you're there is because you were good enough to go there. When you're struggling, you've got to remember that you were good enough to go there, you'll fit in, and there's a reason the coaches wanted you to go there. Be that person that was good enough to go there."

Question As you were being recruited by Northridge, the program was struggling a bit. Was the selling point that made you want to join the team?

Answer Playing in the Big West, and it was close to home, But the big thing was we knew that a lot of the infielders were leaving and some of the older guys would be gone, and there were going to be a lot of chances for younger guys to play. As soon as I started hearing about all the names that were coming here, I started getting pretty pumped and I said, "Yeah, I'd like to go there and contribute to that growing program."

Question What's your favorite thing about being a baseball player?

Answer hitting. Hitting's the most fun thing, and playing third base is another thing. Playing over there, you've always got to be ready. And the adrenaline rush of every game, every game's a new thing, nothing's ever the same, it's always different every single game, every at bat's different; every pitch... just being able to play a game like this is a lot of fun. It can drag on, but it's never boring, you've got to be ready on every single pitch.

Question How have you benefited from being around Coach Rousey and the rest of the staff?

Answer Definitely with Rousey, you listen to him talk and we can have conversations for hours. He's the most intelligent man, he knows so much, and he's personally pone of the most intelligent people I've ever talked to. And the Rob and Kertan and they can relate to the younger guys, be buddies with them and also be good, hard coaches at the same time. It's a system that all works and all fits together.

Question Obviously you want to go out and win every time you play, but is the goals to peak for the Big West season?

Answer Going back to UCLA, you want to go out and win those big games and you want to win your non-conference games, but it's all about who gets the roles at the right times. With conference play coming up soon, you've got to be ready for that, be ready to come up big during conference play. Even as freshmen, we know that you've got to play good ball during conference play.

Question What was it like your first weekend to go out and get some hits, make some plays, hit a home run... what was it like to get all of that stuff out of the way?

Answer It was nice. It could have been better, but it didn't go bad either. It was just a lot of fun, that's the biggest thing. That first game, I didn't get to play but I was ready to go the whole time, I had the adrenaline rush. I enjoyed the whole thing: watching the game, being in the dugout, seeing the difference between high school and college ball... altogether, it was so much adrenaline and so much fun. To watch, to play, doing well, whatever. To do well was just a big plus for me.

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