Sporting a 38-12
record and a 17-game winning streak, the seventh-ranked UC San Diego Baseball
team travels to Stockton this weekend for the CCAA Championship Tournament with
a third consecutive conference regular season title already in its possession.
One of the catalysts for the Tritons' late-season surge has been senior Blake
Tagmyer. The Centennial, CO native who came to UCSD via USD, is hitting .352
and leads the club in both on-base (.481) and slugging percentage (.576)
despite sitting out a stretch with injuries and playing several different
positions. Although the numbers are gaudy, it's the intangibles that catch the
eye of UCSD Coach Dan O'Brien. "Blake's just a winner-he flat out competes,"
says O'Brien, in his 14th season at the helm. "I think he's been our team
leader between the lines. He always gets quality at bats and does whatever it
takes in the field-and he gets it done every day, no matter what the
situation." With the post-season looming, Tagmyer spent time discussing his team,
the season and what's ahead.
Q-In your opinion,
what has been primarily responsible for your team's late-season surge?
we finally started to come together as a team. Guys started to pick each other
up, which took some pressure of the guys that felt they had to carry the team.
Also, I didn't think there were too many games during the beginning of the
season when both offense and pitching were on during the same game. As of late,
we have been getting outstanding pitching performances and our hitters have
been locked in at the plate.
Q-Was there a particular, moment, game
or series during the year where you thought, "hey, we're really playing at a
first game at Chico State was when I realized we were playing at a high level.
I have always known this team has what it takes, but before that series we were
playing inconsistent baseball. We had taken 3-of-4 from a lot of teams, but
nobody was satisfied with that because we all hold each other to such high standards.
After that Friday night game at Chico, I knew we were going to be unstoppable.
Then Guido (Knudson) came out on Saturday and shut down a good team for the
second straight night. Chico has been having success all year, and there was a
moment during that weekend that I thought they could hang with us.
Q-Over the weekend,
your team clinched its third consecutive CCAA regular season championship. In
your mind, what does that say about the UCSD program?
it speaks volumes about this program. It's hard to have continued success in
college baseball, which says a lot about the job that Coach O'Brien and his
staff have done. This year more than ever I think teams have been gunning for
us, which made winning a third consecutive regular season title that much more
of an accomplishment.
Q-How sweet was it to be able to clinch
the conference in front of your home fans?
awesome to be able to clinch it at home. We have had tremendous support from
friends, family, and alumni this year so it was great for them to be a part of
Q-You were part of
last season's 54-8 squad that finished second at the NCAA Division II
Championships. What effect, positive or negative, did last year's performance
have on this year's club?
at first it had a negative effect on this year's team. I felt like everybody
felt the pressure to win and sweep almost every series, which put a lot of
pressure on this year's team. I think this all changed after the Sonoma series.
I think that weekend we finally found our own identity, and since then we have
been unstoppable. Last year's team had tremendous successes, but in my mind why
strive to be like last year's team when we didn't finish what we set out to do.
This year's team has a totally different dynamic, and in my mind were more battle-tested
than ever and prepared to accomplish all the goals that we set out to reach at
the beginning of the year.
Q-What are the
primary, ongoing messages that Coach Dan O'Brien and his staff preach to the
his main message has been to just have fun and enjoy playing with the guys
around you. Our team is at its best when we're loose and relaxed, so I think
having this mentality has played a huge part in our late season success.
Q-You lead the team in both slugging and
on base percentage, two categories that aren't always directly related. How do
you explain that?
TAGMYER-My focus at the plate all year has been to have quality at bats and
go 90 feet for this team. We have so many good hitters up and down the lineup
that if somebody gets on it creates so many different weapons for our offense.
I think I have been more patient at the plate this year, which has led to more
walks and hit by pitches, and also allowed me to get my pitch. When this
happens I have been fortunate to get some extra base hits.
Q-This season, the batting order has
been more fluid than it was a year ago. Is there a particular spot in the order
you prefer to hit? Does your place in the order change your approach at the
this season I had never batted clean-up before. It took a little bit to get
used to because you definitely get pitched differently than other spots in the
lineup, but now I cant imagine hitting anywhere else. It's been awesome hitting
behind guys like Danny Susdorf, Aaron Bauman, and Kyle Saul because they are
always on base, and I feel that I am at my best when there are guys in scoring
Q-Along the same lines, you started the
year at second base, are now over at first and have done some duty at DH. Which
do you like best?
base had always been my favorite position, but to be honest I don't really care
where I play as long as I am in the field. DH is a difficult position because
it's hard to get into the flow of the game, and you have nothing to take your
mind off your next at-bat. First base has been an easy transition coming from
middle infield, and I'm sure the other guys love it now that they have someone
with some height to throw to.
Q-You bat left-handed and throw
right-handed. Which is your dominant hand and have you always batted from the
left side of the plate?
really have a dominant side. I throw right, kick right, and play golf right,
but everything else I do left-handed. I refuse to call myself a lefty though,
so I guess I will say I am right hand dominant. When I was younger, I used to
switch hit, but when I got to high school I went back to my natural side which
Q-To date, what has
been the high point of this season for you?
point of the season for me has been everything from the Sonoma series on. After
that first game we lost, this team made a decision to turn it around and not be
the same team we were at the beginning of the year. Right before the Sonoma
series I remember telling the guys in a team meeting that our season is just
Each team that we were going to play from that point on was
at the top of the pack, which is what college baseball is all about. Coming out
and rising to the occasion and winning the last 17 regular season conference
games to win conference is something that I will never forget. And the most
exciting part about it is that best times are still to come!
Q-Looking at this
year's roster, who would you describe as the "leader," the "best clutch
hitter," the "comedian" and the "brain?"
year's team is different than most because we have so many seniors. I think we
have tremendous senior leadership with all the guys, but if I had to pick a
couple I would say Tim (Shibuya) and Guido. Both these guys have tremendous
work ethic, and come to play everyday. I think true leadership is demonstrated
on the field, and Tim and Guido are perfect examples of this. They don't need
to talk to lead the group, they just come out everyday ready to help this team
win! The younger guys on the team have some great role models to look up to,
which is why UCSD has had continued success throughout the years.
I think the best clutch hitter has been Danny Susdorf. He
has been our most consistent hitter throughout the year, and also been one of
our most clutch hitters. I can think of many times when we needed to get a
leadoff man on late in the game and Danny was the guy to do it. I can also think
of a couple times, most recently in Chico, when Danny had a two-out two-strike
hit that scored a couple guys late in the game to give us a lead. Danny has
tremendous work ethic which is why he is such a great hitter.
As for the comedian, I would have to say Abro (Eric Abraham).
I have never met someone that has made me laugh so much. He always has funny
one-liners and is so quick-witted, which makes him an awesome guy to be around.
I think the nerds of the team has to go to Guido and (Elias)
Tuma. Guido is so smart that he tutors all the geniuses that go to UCSD, and
Tuma owns all academic records at UCSD. He is the guy that won't go out on a
Friday because he has a midterm three weeks away.
Q-What's this team like on the road? Is
there a particularly memorable moment or two you can share from this season's
honest there isn't much excitement that goes on with this team on the road.
Were such old guys that when the game ends, we eat, take an ice bath, and
usually pass out before nine. I think all the excitement happens with our
assistant coaches, but those aren't stories I can tell on here. The real
excitement happens when we get home Sunday night and we get together as a team
to celebrate a sweep. Those are
some stories that I can't repeat either.
Q-You are from
Centennial, Colorado, started your collegiate career at USD and then
transferred to UCSD; what about UCSD caught your eye? Has your experience at
UCSD been everything you hoped it would be?
TAGMYER-The first thing that caught my eye about UCSD baseball was that it
was a winning program. I knew coming from USD that I wanted to transfer to a
program that had a chance to win a national championship, and I also wanted to
stay in Southern California. Coming to UCSD has been one of the best decisions
I have ever made, I just wish I would have done it sooner.
Q-As a Communications
major, what are your plans after you graduate? Is baseball part of that
has always been to play professional baseball and I will follow that dream as
long as I can. If that doesn't work out, I have thought about playing overseas
somewhere because I don't think I am ready to hang em' up. I have also thought
about going to Law school next year, but as of right now I am just trying to
enjoy my last month of college and win a national championship!
Q-You've got the CCAA
Championship Tournament this weekend in Stockton with the NCAA Regional's the
next week, likely at Triton Ballpark.
How does post-season play differ from the regular season? Does last
year's experience make you and your team any better-prepared this time around?
really isn't too big of a difference between post-season play and regular
season. Our regular season is designed to get you ready for post-season play,
so all we have to do now is continue what we have been doing since
February. So many teams and
players try to do something extra special during the post-season, but we know
that if we play our game it will all work out in the end. The pressure is on
the team in the other dugout because we have proven all year long that if we
play our game nobody can beat us.
Q-What is your dream
scenario for the 2011 NCAA Championships?
My coach would kill me to
know that I am looking past the conference tournament, but I can't help
dreaming about dog piling on our own field to send us to Cary, North Carolina!
This team has been through a lot this year, and I think we have put ourselves
in a great position to go back to the World Series for the third consecutive
year. And this year were gonna win
Previous Q & A Articles
Theresa Richards (Women's Track & Field) April 27, 2011
Austin West (Men's Tennis) April 17, 2011
Drew Lawyer (Men's Crew) April 11, 2011
Keith Okasaki (Men's Golf) March 26, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Hanalei Crowell (Women's Water Polo) March 5, 2011
Camille Gaito (Softball) February 23, 2011
Tim Shibuya (Baseball) February 8, 2011
Carl Eberts (Men's Volleyball) January 31, 2011
Neda Nguyen (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 24, 2011
Amy Bianchini (Fencing) January 14, 2011
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2010
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2010
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Christine Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009