April 7, 2005
This week's featured athlete is left-handed pitcher and junior Nate Jeanes of the baseball team. The native of Methuen, Mass. has thrown two complete games (one shutout) in four starts this season. Boston College (19-7, 6-1 BIG EAST) faces defending conference champion Notre Dame (14-13, 3-3 BE) this weekend at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.
Q: Through 26 games this season, what do you see as the team's greatest assets?
A: I would say it has to be our resiliency and the fact that we never quit. We play the same way whether we are down by five runs or we are up by 10 runs. Our approach stays the same all the time in the way that we go about the game. Everybody is up there pulling for each other, and we've got a group of close-knit guys. We all really pick each other up. If somebody makes a mistake, somebody else always has his back. It's a lot of fun to be on this team right now.
Q: After losing the first four games this season, you've bounced back and won 19 of your last 22 contests. Why such a quick turnaround from the 0-4 start?
A: It's huge to have the success that we have had early in the year. We haven't really changed anything that we do. We always believe in ourselves as a team, in what we are trying to do and in what we are capable of doing. Instead of maybe pushing the panic button, we are sticking with what our coaches have taught us to do. The results have been pretty good so far.
Q: Talk about the Boston College baseball program's philosophy of "Birdball."
A: I believe that Coach Hughes is the one who coined the term. It's just our attitude and our approach and the way we look at the game. It's about outhustling the other team and wanting it more than the other team. We sprint onto the field and take our position on the field before the other team gets off. It's about stealing that extra base on the ball in the dirt and being aggressive on the basepath. When you are playing the game, you go 100 miles per hour, 100 percent of the time.
Q: Anchored by seniors Joe Martinez and Mike Wlodarczyk, the staff fields one junior (Jeanes), four sophomores and two freshmen. Talk about the youth of this season's pitching staff.
A: The whole pitching staff has done tremendously well so far. I think that a lot of people outside the team probably questioned how well the younger guys would respond. Everybody has just gone above and beyond the call of duty. Everybody has stepped in and filled roles very nicely. We have picked up a lot of slack. Obviously, when you lose a lot of guys in the draft like we did and a couple of guys to graduation, you think it's going to create some serious problems. But a lot of guys looked at that as a challenge and saw it as an opportunity to improve themselves. That has really helped out this team.
Q: You saw Notre Dame in last year's Big East Tournament championship round. What do you expect for this weekend's three-game series at Campanelli Stadium (in Brockton)?
A: I know that they are a very talented team. I'm sure they are probably one of the best teams we are going to play all year. They are always well-coached, and they always have talented players. It's going to be a tough series. We are not expecting to walk in there and walk out with three 20-0 victories or anything like that. It's going to be a real grind. We know we just have to do what we have been doing. We have to stay focused on what we have to do and not worry about what they are going to do. If we do that, we should be successful.
Q: What do you enjoy most about playing for Pete Hughes and his coaching staff?
A: I think Coach Hughes has a real passion for the game. He's intense, but at the same time is very relaxed and can make the game a lot of fun. He can joke around a little with you, but at the same time, he will light a fire under you to get you going. It's pretty exciting to be able to go out there and play for him. A lot of the coaches have different personalities, and they all really complement each other. Under [pitching coach] Mikio Aoki's tutelage, I've been able to develop a lot with mechanics. A lot of pitchers come in with mechanical problems that really can inhibit them from pitching effectively. Many guys have been able to come in and work with [Aoki] and develop proper mechanics to consistently pitch well.
Q: After making one appearance last season in a game against Northeastern, what has it been like to contribute so much more this season?
A: It's a real privilege to be out there. It's hard to put into words sometimes. It's just an amazing opportunity. I'm just grateful for the chance to be out there. It's been a real exciting process. I feel like I've learned a lot, just being around guys like Joe Martinez and Mike Wlodarczyk, who are two great leaders of the pitching staff. Everybody is really having a good time.
Q: You currently lead the team in earned run average (1.71), opponent batting average (.148) and complete games (two). What does it take to consistently pitch well throughout the season?
A: One of the biggest things when you talk about pitching is just staying focused. It's about maintaining the same philosophy on every pitch and every hitter. That is, you want to go up there and attack the hitter and compete. That's our philosophy as a pitching staff. That's what our coach is trying to get us to do - to go out, to execute, and do what we are supposed to do. You have to do that on every pitch. Now, if you do that 90 to 95 percent of the time, you are going to be successful.
Q: Having had the chance to play with and observe Chris Lambert (now in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league organization) and fellow lefthander Kevin Shepard (Philadelphia Phillies organization) for two seasons at Boston College, what were you able to learn from having watched them?
A: One of the biggest things was being able to see their work ethic. Lambert was an exceptionally hard worker. He really worked out and went about his business. You can see that it's obviously paid huge dividends for him. You learn about different areas of the game, whether it's keeping your composure or fielding your position. The guys that we have on the team now are doing a great job. Both Joe Martinez and Mike Wlodarcyzk were Cape Cod League All-Stars, so as a younger guy to have a great example like that helps you a lot. You are able to pick up on a lot of things, and they offer a lot of good advice.
Next week, the athletics department will feature senior hockey player and defenseman Andrew Alberts, who is currently playing with the AHL's Providence Bruins. Alberts earned Division I All-America East first-team honors for the 2004-2005 season.