March 30, 2006
Junior outfielder Jared McGuire and the BC baseball team open a three-game series with Duke at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Mass. on Friday, March 30. Friday's contest (3:30 p.m.) marks the baseball program's first ACC home game. McGuire, the 2005 Big East Player of the Year, is currently hitting at a .264 clip with 16 RBI and two home runs. BC and Duke square off at 1 p.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday.
Q: With a 14-10-1 record right now, what would you say have been the keys to your team's successes and struggles?
A: Well, we've struggled and that partly comes from this being our first year in the ACC. Obviously, it's going to be tough. In our first two series, at NC State and at Wake Forest, we got swept. That was tough, but I think it's just a matter of us getting comfortable in the ACC. I think we found that [comfort level] last weekend when we swept Virginia Tech. Sometimes, our success comes from our bats - when we're hitting well that day - or from our pitching. But we have yet to put the two together. Once we do that and our chemistry is there, I think we'll be all right.
Q: Last season, you earned Big East Player of the Year honors. Coming into this year, did you feel any extra pressure? What goals did you set for yourself?
A: I felt a little pressure, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I came in with the same expectations as I did last year - to hit the ball and to get hits. I've struggled a little at first, but it's starting to come around now. Hopefully, I'll finish off a good year.
Q: Tell us about your experience playing baseball in Alaska this past summer - how was the competition?
A: Being from the Cape [Harwich, Mass.], I could have played in the Cape [Cod Baseball] League. But, I wanted to have that experience in Alaska. I'll probably never get to go to Alaska again. It was fun, but there was a lot of traveling involved. There are only six teams and the closest team was about three and a half hours away. The experience was definitely worth a lifetime. Not that many people get to go up there. It was good baseball, and it was a lot of fun. It was high-caliber, Division I players. They had players from schools like Pepperdine and Florida State. It was definitely top-of-the-line baseball.
Q: While in Alaska, what did you do to keep busy when you weren't on the field?
A: I was living in a place that has become a big tourist attraction - it's a big fishing area. The salmon were crazy there, and people flocked to town for those three months when I was there. My host dad was a commercial fisherman, so I learned a lot of the trade of fishing and salmon. I lived on a big peninsula in the town of Soldotna, and the team I played for was called the Kenai Oilers.
Q: Looking at the BC pitching staff: You lost major-league draftees Joe Martinez and Mike Wlodarczyk to graduation after last season. Terry Doyle and Nate Jeanes have stepped into the two lead starting roles. Talk about what these two guys have done to fill those big shoes.
A: Obviously, losing Woody and Joey was tough, so we needed people to step up. Doyle and Jeanes have filled that role pretty well. Doyle is throwing as the ace, but they're both pitching pretty well. It's just a matter of time before everything clicks for them. They're definitely stepping up to where they should be, because we really needed somebody to do that for us.
Q: What about the team's other pitchers - Matt Meyer, Mike Wanamaker, Nick Asselin?
A: Wanamaker is going to become a solid mid-week starter. He's definitely got a good power arm, and he was drafted out of high school. Next year or the year after, he's going to be a big part of this program. As a freshman right now, he's young and inexperienced, and it just takes time. He's going to become a good player, definitely. I played with Meyer this summer, and he's definitely a good pitcher. Both he and Nick Asselin are big pitchers for this program, and we need them in order to win.
Q: Talk about your early impressions of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) baseball.
A: Playing up here, we've got a small field. But, our first weekend down at NC State, we were playing in a big stadium there. It was just like, `Wow, this is the ACC.' There are fans yelling at you and stuff, but it's exciting. It's a fun thing. We're going to have Georgia Tech and Clemson playing up here. They're the number one and two teams in the nation, which is going to be exciting. If you want to see good college baseball, this is where it's at - in the ACC. Looking at the top five teams in the nation, three of them are in the ACC, and two of them are going to be playing on our field. If you want to see good baseball with prospects that are going to be playing in the pros some day, this is where you'll see it.
Q: Are there any notable differences from league play your first two years at BC (pitching, fielding, speed, etc.)?
A: I think the change from the Big East to the ACC is the room for error. In the ACC, there is no margin for error. We've lost in extra innings. We've lost 2-1 and 8-6. In the Big East, there is a little bit more room for error. If you make a mistake in the ACC, it's going to hurt you, and it's going to cost you.
Q: After having dropped your first two ACC series - to NC State and Wake Forest - how important was last weekend's three-game sweep of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.?
A: It was very important because we sort of had our heads down after those first two series. We started thinking that it could be a long year if this continued happening. We went into Virginia Tech and just grinded it out. Those wins were huge for our program. We've got Duke this weekend, and if we can do the same to them we'll be back to .500 at 6-6 in the ACC. That's where we want to be.
Q: BC plays its first-ever ACC home game this Friday, kicking off a three-game series with Duke at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton. How excited is your team to begin conference play at home?
A: We're very excited. Our first 20 games or so were on the road and that's a long part of the year. Now, we have some home games to play here in front of our home fans. It's exciting and that's what we look forward to.
Q: Talk about the team's freshmen and other newcomers. What players should fans be sure to keep an eye on?
A: Well, looking at the freshmen, Eric Campbell is probably the one that has caught my eye the most. Coming in as a freshman, especially playing in the ACC, it's a tough challenge to come in and take that job. He's playing third base, and he's hitting well. He's definitely going to be an up-and-coming star in this program. Michael Wanamaker is a freshman pitcher who fans should also keep their eyes on.
Q: Is there any one player - or maybe even a couple of players - who have really surprised you with their performances so far this season?
A: Terry Doyle comes to mind because last year he was a mid-week starter. This year, coming in, not knowing what pitching role he was going to have, he came in and has become our number-one pitcher on the weekend. He has been pitching very well. He's probably been the most pleasant surprise and improvement. Also, Johnny Ayers has definitely become a key part of our offense. As the leadoff hitter, he's getting on and getting hits. Last year, he didn't play that much. So, he's definitely a big part of this team. We need him to continue his success and his hitting.
Q: What can you tell people about Coach Hughes? What kind of coach is he? And what about the assistant coaches?
A: He's a great coach and enters his eighth year here. He's taken Boston College baseball and really helped turn this program around. He's always pushing us to do our best, and I like the guy a lot. He's going to make us a competitive team in the ACC. With Coach Pasquarosa - he's our infield coach, and I played infield earlier this year - he's a great guy and is a lot of fun to work with. He keeps everyone relaxed. Coach Englert, Coach Aoki and Coach Pasquarosa are all great assistants. Our coaching staff is good, and it makes baseball a lot more fun than when you have coaches who get up in your face.
- interview conducted by senior Alex Timiraos