With the regular season starting on Friday against Sacramento State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, the Texas baseball team hopes to rebound from a mediocre 2012 season. For the Longhorns to be successful, it is imperative that the pitching staff remains healthy. I had a chance to chat with redshirt pitcher Toller Boardman about the upcoming season and what we can expect from this team.
Q: What is it like being on the team as a redshirt freshman? Do you feel more experienced from having a season to learn on the bench?
A: “Being redshirted last year was a blessing in disguise. Due to my back injury i had to sit out all of last year and watch from the bench. Even though I didn’t play I still participated in the drills and learned all the play calls so this year I didn’t have to stress about learning all of the signs.
Q: What’s your best pitch? You played well in the alumni game against major league hitters, what was that experience like? Did you do anything differently to get the double play ground out to end the inning?
A: “My best pitch would have to be my fastball just for the fact that it comes out the same as a fastball and then drops out of the zone to fool the hitter. Playing in the alumni game was an awesome experience. It’s not every day that you can say you struck out a World Series champion in Brandon Belt. When you are trying to get a double play you want to try to sink the ball to induce a ground ball. So when facing Cameron Rupp I was throwing a two seem fastball that tails down and away from the hitter so he would hit it straight into the ground.”
Q: It’s your second year playing under coach Garrido, is this year any different than last year? Is the approach to the game the same? Has coach Garrido changed any of this year’s routines?
A: “The big difference between last year and this year would be that we are in a much more relaxed pressure free zone where having fun is encouraged. Coach Nicholson who replaced Coach Harmon is a young energetic guy who is a perfect fit. The goal is always winning when you are at the university of Texas so during practices when we scrimmage to encourage winning the winning team will all get ice cream. Coach Garrido hasn’t really changed his style at all. He’s the best coach in the nation for a reason so he knows what works and what doesn’t.”
Q: Texas is historically one of the best, if not the greatest, baseball programs in college baseball. What are the expectations for the team this season? What will it take to get back to the college world series?
A: “The goal every year is to win a national championship, but if you think that far ahead you will never make it. The process we follow is “one game at time” which means to stay in the moment and focus only on the game you are playing at the time. to get back to the college world series we will have to stay injury free. That was a big factor that hurt us last year. We have some of the best talent and more importantly best team chemistry so it should show on the field.”
Q: What do you think will be the toughest challenges to the team this season? Anyone on the schedule that you guys are looking out for?
A: “The toughest thing every season isn’t who you play but the duration of the season. Towards the end of the season all the teams are physically drained but it is the mentally tough who go on to win the college world series. We aren’t worried about facing anyone really. We just focus on what we can control. It doesn’t matter who our pitchers face because we just focus on throwing to the catcher’s mitt. But if I had to pick one team I would say Stanford just for the fact that we play at Palo Alto again and we can redeem ourselves from getting swept three games to none.”