As one of the few
"veterans" on a young UC San Diego Baseball team, junior centerfielder Danny
Susdorf has had to step into a leadership role in 2012. After leading the 42-15
CCAA champion Tritons in both hits (87) and average (.385) as a sophomore, the
Newhall native was first team all-conference and first team All-West Region. Over
the summer he played ball in the Northwoods League where he gained a slice of
celebrity by getting featured on ESPN's SportsCenter. Back at UCSD in 2012, he's
continued to put up solid numbers, hitting .302 with a UCSD best .397 on-base
percentage. "Danny does an incredible job of competing and he's a real sparkplug
on our team, a good role model for our younger players," said first-year Head
Coach Eric Newman. "He's a really good hitter, uses his speed well, is tough to
strike out and just plays the game hard." With the Tritons working to push
their way into the top end of the CCAA standings, Susdorf took time to discuss
his turn in the limelight, baseball at UCSD and the team's changeover at the
Q-Did you ever imagine
you would be featured in a play of the day on SportsCenter, at No. 1 no less?
play, the first thing I yelled to my teammates was '"that was the best play of
my entire life." But no, I did not think there was a chance in the world that
play would be on SportsCenter. Normally you only see professional athletes on
SportsCenters Top Ten, so I consider myself very lucky to even be nominated to
be on SportsCenter let alone being the No. 1 play.
kind of notoriety did you get after that aired? Did you have any idea it would
turn into a big deal when you made the play?
couple of weeks, yeah, I got a little popular amongst the Woodchucks' fans. But
overall the town of Wasau treated us all like celebrities so it was a pretty
surreal experience. After it happened, getting to know the Wasau fans, yes, I
thought it would be kind of a big deal just because they were pretty devoted.
Q-What was the
strangest thing you experienced after it happened?
the funniest things was when a kid came up to Justin Burns at the gym asking if
he was the player that made the play, then asked Justin if he could get my
autograph for him.
League is recognized as one of the best in the country. How did your summer
there help develop your game?
into it I knew I was one of the better players in Division II, but I've always
had that subconscious doubt that I would be able to hang with the big
Division I players. It really just gave me the confidence that I could play
with the best and excel in one of the tougher leagues. My mental game developed
by far the most, because you don't have any time to dwell on past failures-you
play nearly everyday. So I really matured mentally, not dwelling on past at bats and past games. I just put it past me and go to the next pitch.
Q-Did you ever get any grief for being
on the "Wisconsin Woodchucks?"
much grief. Every time we played away and something good happened for our team,
the announcing booth would play "hey woodchucks stop chucking my wood" from the
Geico commercial. And at some of the opposing ballparks there are beer gardens in left field where I was
playing and I got worn out by the opposing fans.
Q-When you came back,
there were obviously changes at UC San Diego with the arrival of new Head Coach
Eric Newman and an entirely revamped staff. Change is rarely easy, but what
have been some of the positives associated with the new environment?
experience and knowledge the coaching staff has is incredible. We have some of
the best coaches and people anyone could ask for. We have major leaguers, minor
leaguers and great college players on our coaching staff, so that knowledge is
Q-What, if anything
do Coach Newman and former coach, Dan O'Brien, have in common?
they both bring to the table. DOB had this passion that is indescribable and
fired me up, really got the best out of me and Coach Newman has that same sort
of passion in a different way. They both also want to help us grow on and off
the field. DOB last year really helped me harness my emotions and Coach Newman
right now is teaching me how to cope with a new environment and is teaching me
how to be an effective team leader.
Q-The UCSD Baseball
program has compiled a 137-38 record over the past three seasons with three
consecutive CCAA regular season and conference titles. After graduating a slew
of players each of the last two years, the 2012 squad is comparatively young
and inexperienced. How would you describe the character and personality of the
are young and yes, we are inexperienced, but I believe that's a good thing. Yes,
the last couple of years we have been a successful team, but we have always
ended with a loss. I believe as a team we haven't found our team's identity yet
but we are creating it slowly.
Starting off with Chico State and Cal Poly Pomona, two very
good teams, and splitting with them when we haven't reached our potential is a
very good sign. Our team's character is something I can't describe yet because
is being molded right now, but I promise at the end when we have established
our collective identity, it will be a team that grinds every pitch and won't
back down from adversity.
Q-Clearly, you are
one of the prominent offensive pieces in the lineup but, although still a
junior, you're also one of the veterans expected to be a leader. How comfortable
are you in that role and have you changed the way you go about things now?
SUSDORF-I am very
comfortable with the role I have been given, in that I am going to be the first
on the field and the last to leave unless I have a Structural Analysis class, ha
ha. But I've tried to model myself after the way Vance Albitz (shortstop 2010) went
about his business two years ago. He would lead by example and only say things
when they needed to be said. No, I still go about my business the same as I
have done in the previous years. I do talk up more in team meetings and let
teammates inside my head about the things I think about whether I'm at the
plate or in the outfield. But other than that, like I said, I try to be a quiet
leader unless something needs to be said.
Q-How would you
evaluate the team's pre-season and early conference play? What do you think
this year's club is capable of?
pre-season and early conference play has been just right. We are still trying
to figure out what our team's identity is going to be. But, like I said, we
split with some pretty good teams not playing our best baseball. I believe this
team has the potential to get back to Cary and make a run at a World Series
title. Anything can happen in playoffs. Right now we just need to take
advantage of every practice and work on things to get better for the next
Q-How would you
describe your own playing style?
playing style is very fiery. I love playing baseball with emotion and I think
it inspires the entire team to play its best caliber of baseball. When I'm
excited you're probably going to notice. I like to think I'm a great person to
be on a team with, but if you're on the opposing team you're probably going to
hate me with a passion.
Q-When did you start playing baseball
and what is your fondest memory of your playing days as a youngster?
looked up to my brothers and wanted to be just like them. They both played
baseball so naturally I began playing baseball at the young age of four. The
best memories of playing baseball were anytime I got to go see one of my
brothers' college games or hit with them and my dad in the cage in the
backyard-or just about do anything baseball-related with them.
Q-What other sports
did you play before settling on baseball only? If you were pitted against all
other players on the Baseball team, what one sport or game do you think you
soccer and ran cross country for a little bit while I was growing up. I know
that I would definitely dominate all of my teammates in soccer. It wouldn't be
Q-With all of the new
faces on the roster, who are one or two that have stood out to you early as
players UCSD fans should be excited to watch?
the fans should be excited to see pitcher Trevor Scott and catcher Brian Choi.
Trevor has a certain intensity and fire that I love to play behind. I know that
he's going to give it his all every single pitch. I believe Brian is going to
develop into a real offensive threat. He has the ability to hit the long ball
while at the same time being solid behind the plate.
Q-Who are your
favorite players in the Major Leagues today and is there anyone you tried to
model your game after when you were younger?
Utley and Andre Ethier are by far my favorite players. I love how they go about
the game of baseball. You can just tell that they are two of the hardest
working players in the game, especially Chase. Chase just seems like a quality
guy both on and off the field. When they're both on the field you know they're
going to give it their all every pitch.
Q-What's the most
difficult thing about playing center field?
the outfield to every hitter and the pitch count. (Justin) Rahn, (Scott) Liske,
(Gregg) Ringold, and (James) Mossholder probably find me very annoying, like a
nagging mom, because I'm just pointing out the obvious, but the one time they
forget I think they'll be thankful that I'm persistent. Also, it's one of the
more important defensive positions so I can't space out as much as I would like
to. I have to be locked in for every pitch and have to keep track of two other positions
making sure that they're in the right spot and know what they should do with
the ball depending on the situation.
Q-You're a structural
engineering major. How many of those do you think there are in college
baseball? What drew you to that field of study? Have you discovered any
connection between your major and your sport?
be surprised if there are 10 structural engineers in baseball. I drew upon that
field because I've always been pretty solid at both math and physics, and one
of my brothers chose that major when he went into college. We have pretty
similar personalities, so I thought it would suit me well. No, I haven't
discovered any connections between my major and my sport-they are pretty much
Q-What are your long
term plans-both with baseball and post-playing career?
like to have the chance to play in the minor leagues so I never have any regrets.
But I could definitely see myself as an offensive threat in a softball Sunday
Q-When you're not
playing baseball or studying, how do you like to spend your time? What's the
most unusual hobby you have?
for me happens once in a blue moon. But when it does happen, which is like once
a month, I normally like to just hang out with my friends.
Q-What are three
words that best describe the experience of being a college athlete?
competitive and faith
Previous Q & A Articles
Sarah Lizotte (Women's Water Polo) February 9, 2012
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball) January 31, 2012
Alex Henley (Women's Swimming & Diving) January 17, 2012
James McCann (Men's Basketball) December 29, 2011
Emily Osga (Women's Basketball) December 19, 2011
John Butler (Men's Water Polo) November 28, 2011
Lauren Demos (Women's Volleyball) November 8, 2011
Cory Wolfrom (Men's Soccer) October 26, 2011
Ellen Wilson (Women's Soccer) October 1, 2011
Brian Donohoe (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2011
Roxanne Brunsting (Women's Volleyball) August 19, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Vincent Nguyen (Tennis) July 1, 2011
Patti Gerckens (Softball) May 26, 2011
Blake Tagmyer (Baseball) May 11, 2011
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