Timeout With Jeff Mandel

March 20, 2007

How do you feel the freshman have performed so far this season?

Sometimes it's hard to step into a higher level of competition and be able to perform at the same level that you are used to. But, these guys seem to be taking it all in stride. Most of these guys turned down draft offers from even higher levels of the game to come here so I am sure they were definitely ready for the competition. Even the hardest qualities for young guys to grasp like clutch hitting, bouncing back from mistakes, and consistency are starting to show through. We'll be watching some of these guys play for years to come.

Compared to your expectations, how has the season gone so far?

With such a young team I think people just thought we were in a rebuilding stage. But ever since we started full team practices we have had higher expectations than how we are currently playing. Of course, the initial shock of the season has its place in our inconsistent performance, but we have so much talent that we all wish we were performing better.

What needs to improve to help this team get to the next level?

Definitely consistency. It's hard to individually 'stay on top' in this game. That is why there needs to be times where when one player is not playing at his best, the teammates around him are. I think we can drastically improve if we find a way to stay focused and not quit even when some of our teammates are struggling.

Who has exceeded your expectations so far this season?

Hitting wise, I would definitely have to say Raynor Campbell. Although his average is not that impressive at the moment, his at bats are always quality and he always looks focused at the plate. The hits will start coming around for him. Also, his glove has been a vacuum out in the field. We're using him all over the place. Pitching wise, it's got to be William Draper. Plenty of guys out of the pen are pitching well, Tim Matthews, Jake Weghorst and Nick Cassevechia; but, Draper has unexpectedly continued to get better and better each week.

Baylor's had so much success at home over the last two seasons. To what do you attribute that?

We are out on that field for four hours or more a day for six days a week. We've all found comfort zones and I think we all appreciate what great facilities we have here. As most things in baseball are, feeling comfortable and playing well enough to win at home is contagious. When one guy starts feeling it, the others feed off of that.



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