Senior, IF/OF, 5-11, 185
.300 avg, 2 HR, 42 RBI, 37 runs scored
Q: How cool is it that you guys get to play so close to home?
A: It's pretty lucky. If you think about it, we're the four seed, it's our first regional in 50 years or whatever you call it. Technically we're the four seed, but I think the fact that it's in Gary and it's so close to our family and our friends and our school that we kind of feel like we have somewhat of a home-field advantage, which in turn makes us, I think, think we have a legitimate chance at going far in the tournament.
Q: What does it mean to you as a fifth year senior to be on the first team since 1968 to make the NCAA Tournament?
A: It's a dream come true, really. For Jarad (Miller) who's also a fifth year senior, and I, we've struggled for five years. Slowly built up. We've gone through a lot of ups, but mostly downs. To see the team flourish this year has really been... I feel very lucky to go out on top like this. It's not over. We're going to keep going. To end my career here at Valpo, it's been a great run and I couldn't think of any other way better way to do it, close to home in a regional.
Q: What are your chances against Purdue?
A: Obviously they're good. They're the one seed. They're what, 15th in the nation all year long? I'm sure if you look at it on paper, we're probably not picked to win. But we upset Arkansas earlier this year when they were No. 4 and we could've beat them another game too. So I feel like this is a very winnable game. We're going to go out and do the same thing we do every day and just try to take care of business in that fashion and not really think about how good Purdue is or how highly touted they are. It's just another game we have to go out and win.
Q: What do you have to do to beat Purdue?
A: I think they're the seventh ranked team average in the nation, and we've got (Tyler) Deetjen on the hill, which is going to be key. I think he matches up great. He throws guys off-balance. He doesn't walk guys and locates. He's just a great competitor. Pitching is definitely going to be a key and I think if we can scrape some runs across like we usually do, we should be in good shape because our defense is always pretty solid.
Q: Do you have a lot of ticket requests coming in?
A: I have friends who text me and Facebook me asking about the game and stuff. I live a little more than an hour away, so somewhat local. I think everyone here (at Valparaiso) pretty much is from the tri-state area, Indiana, Illinois or Wisconsin, so I think everyone's got a lot of people coming. I think I heard that there's been 3,000 tickets sold, so I think it's going to be a fun atmosphere.
Q: How has school support been?
A: Because a lot of people from Valpo are from Indiana, Illinois, Chicago suburbs, I think the fact that we've been able to... with our softball team's success and then our success, I think that's drawn a lot more support, so hopefully we'll see a lot of students out here.