Hunter Cole hit seven home runs and had seven assists in the outfield last year.
Oct. 18, 2012
Hunter Cole, a 6-1, 190-pound native of Moore, S.C., is in his second year with the Bulldogs. He was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2012. Cole played in 51 games and batted .276 with 23 RBI and a team-leading seven home runs. He made 32 starts in left field, 14 in right field and four in center field. Evan Beever of the UGA Sports Communications office caught up with Cole to discuss several topics as fall practice finishes up.
What are some of the things you learned from your first season?
“Obviously last season wasn’t what we were looking to accomplish or what we expected to do. The major takeaway was that you have to make the most of your time while you’re here. Everyone’s goal out there is to make it to the SECs and try to advance as far as possible. You really can’t take years for granted.”
What was the most memorable moment for you last year?
“It would probably have to be getting the win against South Carolina at home when (Joey) Delmonico got that hit for the walk off win, or beating Kentucky when they came in here with only one loss. Also, I’d say winning at LSU was also great; those were some pretty fun games.”
As a freshman you put up some very good numbers, how do you improve on that for the upcoming season?
“I definitely look to improve from last season. Right now I am in a pretty comfortable state with my swing, and everything feels pretty good. Last year when I got hurt, I tried to tweak some things to prevent further injury, and I just wasn’t very comfortable at the plate, and that’s pretty tough in this league. I’m just looking to stay comfortable and not get to high or low, have a consistent season and win some ball games.”
How did playing with senior outfielder Peter Verdin last year help you adjust to college baseball?
“He was a big help in the outfield. When he was in center and I was in right, we always communicated well; he’s just a solid leader. He would help me stay calm and help me realize that it’s a long season. You’re going to have days when you don’t have your A-game, and you just have to come out and grind it out every single day that you get to the park.”
Now that you have a year of experience at Georgia, how do you plan to help out the newcomers?
“The big thing is to just stay calm. We have some freshmen in the outfield, and communication is a key, trying to get everyone on the same page because if you’re not a well-bonded team then it’s not going to work. Now that I’m in center this year, it’s my job to command the outfield and make sure everyone is in the right position as well as keeping everyone in the game offensively and making sure they know the situations.”
What has been some of the keys to your success this fall?
“One main thing is just seeing the ball and relaxing with not just every at bat but every pitch. When you’re on the field, you can’t think ahead on what to do in the ninth inning, you’ve got to think about what you can do in your next at bat. Just being relaxed and comfortable from pitch to pitch is the main thing.”
Are you excited about the chance to play with your brother Dylan this year?
“I am. Playing with him is a big thing for me. I’m glad that he can be on the team with us this year, and I think he can do some things in the bullpen as well as behind the plate.”
You played all three positions in the outfield last year so where do you feel the most comfortable?
“I’m definitely most comfortable in center, you have a lot of open space and you don’t have to worry about a lot of balls tailing, and you’re just in command out there.”
What goes through your mind during an at bat?
“Knowing the situation, the score and whether or not I need to get something going, those are the big things I think about. The key is just trying to hit the ball hard, get on base and get things going for the team.”
What is the most exciting play in baseball?
“Well I’m a hitter, so I’d have to say a walk off home run. I’ve never hit one before, but that is definitely something I’d like to experience.“
Who has had the biggest impact on your life?
I’d say my parents and my brother Dylan. We have always played together, and my father has coached me from a very young age. Also, Nick Nichols has been a big mentor for me. He was a previous coach and has always helped me with any issues I’ve had.”
What are your goals this season?
“The first goal is to win the SEC, make it to a regional and keeping winning from there and hopefully get to Omaha. That’s everyone goal here, and that is what we are all striving to do.”