"On the Bump" w/ Cole Thompson
Monday, March 7, 2011
Welcome back to the 9th volume of On the Bump. We had an interesting week of practice, travel, and games so read up to soak in the week-long experience of a Centenary Gent.

Monday was our off day from baseball. Like I've said in the past, off days give us a chance to catch up on our schoolwork and to plan out our week's studies. Once again it was nice to see most of the team around the facilities on Monday getting extra work in. A majority of the guys worked out together on Monday night in the Fitness Center also. All in all it was nice to have an off day to start the week because it gave us a day to relax and mentally prepare for our looming weekend with Stephen F. Austin.

Tuesday was a productive, but short day of practice. About 15 of our players had to leave practice at 6:30 to attend Macbeth, which was being performed by "The American Shakespeare Center". But during the first part of practice our hitters really worked on their approach at the plate. Our offense started to look a lot better and catcher Jeff Schaffert told me, "They [the offense] were starting to figure it out". As a pitcher, you love to hear things like this because you can feed off the confidence of your offense while you are pitching. After a majority of the team left, the remaining guys were able to get in a solid session of PFP's.

Wednesday was a tune-up day for our team, as we took batting practice and then prepared to play an 8-inning scrimmage. These scrimmages are the final preparations for our whole team. This is the last time we will pitch, hit, and play defense at a live speed before our weekend series, so we always try to come out focused from the word go on Wednesdays. All of our relief pitchers throw an inning or two on Wednesdays to prepare for the weekend. Our defense looked solid, our hitters had better approaches, and our pitching was solid for the most part during the scrimmage. Our level of play on Wednesday gave me high expectations for the weekend games.

Thursday was our traditional pre-game practice, which consists of a light round of mass fungo (groundball practice to our infielders), pop-fly communication, and batting practice. I wish I could give you a perspective of Thursday's practice, but I was unable to attend practice. I went home to Dallas on Thursday to visit a good friend and his family. Tragically, Mr. David Parker passed away of a heart attack while skiing in Beaver Creek on Monday. His wife and 4 sons (Travis, Austin, Sam, and Bo), all of whom I knew on a very personal level, survive him. I played baseball with 2 of the boys and graduated and was good friends with one. Mr. Parker was a great man that cared about his family and the Lord. I always saw Mr. Parker around the ball fields in high school, and he was always very complimentary and kind to everyone he saw. It was tragic to see him pass away so early, and my heart, thoughts, and prayers are with the family.

Friday was finally game day. There is no better feeling than waking up in the morning and realizing you get to go out and play baseball. We came out focused and determined on Friday night. Friday was important to us because it was our last home game until April 15th. We opened up by scoring 3 in the first inning. Interestingly, we put up a 3 spot without recording a hit. However, this shows tremendous discipline and approaches by our hitters, as they were able to take advantage of mistakes by Stephen F. Austin. Senior Justin Kraft came up big for us, throwing 8 innings while only allowing 3 runs and scattering 6 hits throughout the night. Kraft was so successful because he stuck to the game plan and attacked the strike zone. But when attacking the strike zone, you have to have confidence that your defense will make the plays behind you. Notably, Jeff Schaffert, Peter Rajkovich, Nic Parrott, and Dan Lazarou played exceptional defense behind Kraft. The biggest swing of momentum occurred when junior Dan Lazarou threw out a Stephen F. Austin runner trying to score at home in the top of the 7th inning. That play kept the score at 3-3 and shifted the momentum in our favor. Finally, in the bottom of the 8th inning, Kyle Morton came up clutch for us. Morty had struggled at the plate all season up to this point. However, he turned on a 3-2 curveball with 2 outs and deposited it over the right field wall for a home run. I know that all our guys had faith in Morty to get the job done because we see him do the job all the time in practice, but it was really nice to see him gain that confidence to do it in a game situation. Junior Seth Lugo came in to close the 9th inning for us, and he successfully recorded the save to give us a 4-3 win. It was really nice to get a win over a quality team, but our guys knew we still had work to do on Saturday and Sunday. Our goal is to win every series, so we knew we couldn't be satisfied with our Friday night victory.

Saturday and Sunday's games were played at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas. The weather was chilly, wet, and dreary. We came out really flat on Saturday and as a result got it handed to us by Stephen F. Austin. I started on the mound for us and I did not help the cause. I fell behind in too many counts, and as a result fell prey to their hitters hitting in counts in their favor. It was rough because I dedicated the game to the Parker family and I really wanted to help our team win the series, but sometimes that's the way baseball is. It can be a cruel sport at times, but at other times it can make you feel like you are on top of the world. However, I know I can use this game as a learning tool to help me be more successful in games from here on out. For the day, we played horrible all around. We struck out way too many times at the plate, our pitchers didn't attack the strike zone, and our defense was abnormally poor. One bright side to the game was that all of our guys got into the game one way or another. It's good that we got everyone in to experience baseball at the Division 1 level and get all the nerves out. Also, a few guys recorded their first collegiate hits at the plate and strikeouts on the mound, which is always nice to see. Sometimes a game like this is good for your team because it makes you realize that you can't be on a high from the game the night before, or else you will get kicked in the rear the next day. But the best thing about baseball is tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday we came out much sharper and competed from the first pitch. Starter Seth Lugo threw a solid 6 innings for us, only giving up 3 runs while striking out 5. We really needed a good start from Lugo, and he came up big for us keeping us in the game. When he left in the bottom of the 7th, the score was 3-2 SFA. Although the final was 10-2 in their favor, we still played solid for the first 6 and a half innings. Our ultimate goal was to win the series, which we failed. But on the other hand, we rose to the challenge from Coach Diaz and played much better on Sunday. We do not take moral victories from losses, but it was nice to build some momentum rolling into next week.

This coming week is our Mardi Gras break, so we have the week off from school. Also, we have the chance to play against Texas A&M on Tuesday in College Station, Texas, as well as 3 games at Grambling this coming weekend. I know our guys are excited to play at Texas A&M and compete against a top 25 team. Check back next week to see how Mardi Gras break and our 4 games went.

This week I will be interviewing freshman outfielder Mark Gillean and freshman shortstop RJ Talamantes. Both of these guys hail from the DFW metroplex and will contribute significantly to our team's success this season.


Mark Gillean - Freshman/Denton, Texas
Q: What is your major?
A:General Studies

Q: You must always have _________ on road trips?
A: I-Pod/I-Phone

Q: Favorite professional sports team?
A: Texas Rangers

Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Billy The Exterminator

Q: Who is your dream girl?
A:Nicki Minaj

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Happy with a job I enjoy to do

Q: Favorite movie?
A: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Q: What are your walkout songs this year?
A: "Body Movin" - Beastie Boys. "I want to get away"- Lenny Kravitz

Q: What is your dream vacation?
A: Playing baseball in Hawaii

Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: " With Great mustache comes great responsibility"

Q: What is something most people don't know about you?
A: I am allergic to bananas

Q: Why did you pick your jersey number?
A: It chose me...I got it because all the numbers I wanted were taken

Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
A: Senior year of high school I broke my nose in an outfield collision. I had to walk around the halls with a REALLY crooked, swollen and broken nose for two weeks until the swelling went down enough so they could perform minor surgery to set it back in place.

Q: If you could have dinner with any 3 people in history, who would they be?
A: My self ( from 20 years into the future ), Michael Cera, and Billy The Exterminator


RJ Talamantes - Freshman/Colleyville, Texas
Q: What is your major?
A: Business

Q: You must always have _________ on road trips?
A: phone and iPod

Q: Favorite professional sports team?
A: Texas Rangers

Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Chuck/Human Target

Q: Who is your dream girl?
A: Yvonne Strahovski

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Hopefully taller and successful

Q: Favorite movie?
A: Never Back Down

Q: What are your walkout songs this year?
A: "Do the John Wall" - Troop 41 & "Ready for War"- 50 Cent

Q: What is your dream vacation?
A: Colorado Springs

Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: Never give up something you can't go a day without

Q: What is something most people don't know about you?
A: I have a half-sister that I have only met once in person

Q: Why did you pick your jersey number?
A: I have two numbers. #5 was given to me and #28 because #5 in the gray uniform was too big

Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
A: I try not to embarrass myself

Q: If you could have dinner with any 3 people in history, who would they be?
A: God, Jesus, and Kevin Hart