The UC San Diego baseball team recently swept the No. 1 ranked team in the country and has climbed to first-place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Josh Tanner, one of five, four-year letterwinners contributing this season, has been a big part of the success. So far, the third baseman from El Dorado Hills is one of four Tritons hitting over .300 and is part of a UCSD defense that sports a .982 fielding percentage, an increase over last season’s .975 percentage that ranked No. 1 in the nation. Tanner recently took time to discuss the 2009 season and life as a student-athlete on the Triton baseball team.
Q: How is the 2009 Triton Baseball team the same and/or different than past UCSD teams you have played on?
TANNER: This year, we have a very unique chemistry because we have so many veteran guys. A lot of us have been playing together for three or four years. I think the newer guys feel very comfortable too because of the environment this creates.
Q: With about half of the conference season complete, how would you describe the season up to date?
TANNER: We struggled out of the gate a little bit, but I think it was good for us. Dealing with struggles early in the season is only going to make us a better team towards the end. I also feel as though we are beginning to hit our stride at just the right time.
Q: You have seen an increased roll this season. Did you work on anything specific during the summer and fall?
TANNER: I always prepare the same way. I have done everything in four years here whether it be starting, being a role player or whatever. I just do what I can to help the team win.
Q: Which pitcher on the Triton staff are you glad you do not have to face in a game?
TANNER: It has to be (Tim) Shibuya. He is so solid and he locates his pitches so well. You are lucky if you get something good to hit in an at-bat.
Q: What have been some of your favorite memories as a Triton?
TANNER: Going to the playoffs each year has been awesome. The progression we have made in the past four years from CCAAs to the regionals has been so great. Hopefully we can take it to the next level this year and go to the College World Series. Also, the friends I have made and the guys I have got to play with in the four years I have been here.
Q: On March 14, teammate Trevor Decker threw a no-hitter. At what point did you begin to realize he had a no-hit bid going? Was there any chatter about it in the dugout when UCSD was batting? What were your reactions after the final out was made?
TANNER: I actually have to say that there was not a lot of chatter, not as much as usual when a guy is throwing so well. I like to think that is why it actually happened! I knew in about the fourth inning that he was throwing well and we could feel it. It was so exciting to see things come together for him because we have been through a lot together (he has been my roommate for three years!).
Q: You have seen action at third base, shortstop and second base in your career as a Triton. Do you have a favorite position? Are there any differences in playing those positions?
TANNER: Shortstop has always been my favorite. There is a lot of responsibility and it requires leadership and being vocal and I love that. I have worked a lot at third and I feel more comfortable there now. It is different because of the quicker reaction time and the longer throws.
Q: When not playing baseball, what do you like to do in your spare time?
TANNER: Spare time? I don’t get much! But when we do, I like to hang out with friends, watch baseball, play Rock Band with my roommates...normal stuff.
Q: What are some of your favorite places in
TANNER: I really like
Q: What is your major and do you have any after graduation plans?
TANNER: My major is Management Science, but I don’t really know what I want to do. I have always wanted to work at ESPN or for a Major League team somehow. We will see how that works out, but for now I just want a job and maybe I will go to grad school in a few years.
Q: Being born in El Dorado Hills, what do you like and not like about northern and southern
TANNER: I love being able to play baseball almost year round in
Q: In what ways has head coach Dan O’Brien helped you develop throughout your Triton career?
TANNER: Coach O’Brien has been a big influence on me through my four years because he has helped me through some tough times. He is very motivational and is such a good person that I am privileged to have gotten the opportunity to play for him. I truly appreciate how he has prepared me for life after baseball.
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