Relief pitcher Nolan Belcher usually does the backflip in the team’s pregame huddle, but you’ve done it a few times this year, right?
“I’ve done it for maybe three or four games. We won one, and every time I did it after then, we started losing, so I got kicked out.”
Do your parents worry when they see you doing the backflip?
“I’ve been able to do that for a long time, so it doesn’t really bother them.”
What’s been the toughest adjustment to college baseball?
“The speed of the game is on a whole new level from high school ball. Everyone is throwing a lot harder. All the runners are faster. Everyone is bigger and stronger. So that’s probably the hardest thing. I’ve never played left field before, either, so that’s been kind of a little tough to adjust to. It’s a whole new read off the bat. I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job as of late, kind of adjusting to playing out there.”
What’s your favorite moment of the season so far?
“I think Opening Day was probably cool for me, just kind of not knowing what to expect, coming out here and seeing all the fans.”
Now that school is out and you guys just have baseball, what are you doing with your free time?
“I sleep a lot. Some people say it helps you grow, so I’ll try that as much as I can. (English is listed at 5-7 and 160 pounds.) When we’re not at the baseball field, we’re chilling in the dorm, playing games, watching videos. I have a lot of friends that live in the Columbia area that I always go hang out with, so that helps a little bit.”
How nice is it to just focus on baseball now?
“Oh, man, you have no idea. Thank God class is out. It’s not the funnest thing in the world, but it’s time for baseball now, so it’s cool to be able to focus on that.”
Center fielder Evan Marzilli is a junior and seems a likely candidate to turn pro. Has he been grooming you to take his place during practice, just as Jackie Bradley Jr. did for him last year?
“Me and Evan were out there in the fall switching reps, but since then I haven’t taken any. I’ve been playing left field every day, so that’s kind of what I’m focusing on. Just like Jackie when he was out there, Evan’s got one of the best first reads off the bat as anybody. He’s just an overall really, really good defensive outfielder. It’s cool being able to watch him play.”
But you’re obviously hoping to have that spot next year if Marzilli leaves, right?
“Definitely. To get back in centerfield where I was before, that’d be awesome. But we’ll see.”
Compiled by Darryl Slater