April 6, 2013 by conteconfidential
The Boston College baseball team is in the middle of a tough season in the always-competitive ACC. The Eagles welcomed Clemson to Chestnut Hill for the very first home series of the season Friday. Clemson handed BC a 7-5 loss, ending a two-game winning streak. Conte Confidential caught up with versatile sophomore Tyler Hinchliffe, who can play numerous positions and even pitches in relief. He has two saves on the season for the Eagles but is out for the rest of the year with a knee injury. He talked about the team’s mood, his injury and what it’s like being on the road for most of the first part of the season.
1) What is the mood on the team right now? It’s been a tough season [the team is 5-24 (0-12 ACC)] but you guys won two in a row recently, and are in a home series this weekend against Clemson.
I would say that the mood is obviously coming around. It’s tough going on the road for seven weeks. After that Florida trip, which we always have, we were ready to get back home for a home game. But because of the weather we weren’t able to have a first home series against UNC. This week, obviously we had our first home win, and everyone’s spirits got lifted going into this weekend.
2) What were the keys to getting two consecutive wins against UConn and Harvard? Did the team’s strengths show in the victories?
I would say our positive attitude in the last few games has definitely changed. Every at bat, every inning in the field, everyone just seems more into the game, and everyone seems a lot more lively. Hopefully with Clemson coming in here this weekend we can continue that same attitude each inning.
3) When did your injury occur, and how did it happen?
I actually got injured in the fall in our last inter-squad Maroon vs. Gold game. I tore my ACL. So in the beginning of this year, I tried to play through it but wasn’t able to play the field that well, with running and things like that. But I was able to pitch, and I wanted to see if I could help the team in any way that I could early in the year. In about week two or three in there, it started to break down on me, and I wasn’t able to respond as well as I hoped.
4) Talk a little bit more about your versatility—you’ve played first base as well as pitched in relief. How do you expect to contribute once you are healthy again?
I would like to contribute in any way. A lot of guys have jumped around the infield and outfield. Guys like Travis Ferrick and John Hennessy have been playing third base, first base, left field, right field—pretty much anywhere we need them at any point in time. Next year hopefully I can get in there and give [first baseman] Chris Shaw a little bit of leeway so he can DH and give his leg rest. Pitching out of the bullpen would be nice to save some innings for some guys. Next year we’re losing one or two outfielders. We’re probably going to need some help out there so most likely outfield will be the best for me next season.
5) What is it like being a pitcher in college—are you expected to be a two-way player and produce offensively as well?
Obviously the more two-way players we have, the more beneficial for our team. The coaches want as many two-way players that can compete both sides as possible because that will help out with scholarships and things like that. We’ve lost two freshman pitchers so far, myself and Jeff Murphy, who is another sophomore. So we’ve lost those four guys who can probably help out midweeks, getting into the midweek starting rotation. So it hurt us in terms of getting guys rest. I would say my hopes next year: to play outfield every day and work for that weekend role. If not, then maybe a midweek role when I can get some innings under my belt and stay healthy with my arms.
6) The team has logged over 12,000 miles in travel. Have you traveled with the team, and what is it like being on the road so much?
I haven’t traveled since our Florida trip. That was when I decided to get surgery and get the medical redshirt so we set a date. But it takes a toll on a lot of guys. It’s more than just the travel part. It’s missing extra classes here and there, and you get a little stressed from that. So it’s an adjustment for our freshmen—we have ten or eleven this year who aren’t used to it. They had a little trouble in the beginning, which is normal. It’s something we need to work on in the fall to get everyone prepared.
7) After so much travel in the first part of the season, you now get to play more at home as the weather gets nicer. Is it easier to pick things up midseason because of it?
Yeah, absolutely. Our week preparing for a home series is a lot easier as a player and a student. We can make all our classes, and depending on how many week games we have, we can have afternoon practice, which is nice. When we’re on the road, we have to wake up early, catch a plane and depending on where we are, we might have to take a bus ride. Then we’ll have practice at night, and it’s a quick turnaround for Friday. We hope to use that to our advantage now that teams are coming up north [to play us]. Not a lot of guys in our conference like to play BC coming up north so we like to get on them early and hopefully win a Friday game and go into the weekend trying to win a series.
By Peter Rothmeier