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Tuesday January 29, 2013UF Baseball Quotes From Tuesday Media Availability

Gainesville, Fla.

Sophomore catcher Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.), redshirt sophomore infielder Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) and senior infielder Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) of the Gator baseball team met with the media on Tuesday prior to practice. The Gators will begin their season on Feb. 15, when Duke visits McKethan Stadium for the opener of a three-game series.

 

Sophomore Taylor Gushue

On his comfort level on the field this year:

“This year, definitely compared to last year, has been a lot more fluid; it’s been a lot easier to just come in and play. I already know all of the guys on the team, so those relationships I’ve had since last year. Compared to last year, it was hard getting to know everybody all at once and getting to know the system, the coaches and just how everything worked, but I feel a whole lot more prepared this year.”

 

On following in former starting catcher Mike Zunino’s footsteps:

“I think that sitting behind Mike [Zunino] was one of the best things that I could have done for my career. To get to see him work in different situations, perform the way he performed, to learn the way he did and provide that example for me, I think that was the best thing that I could have done for my career. Just seeing the way he handled the game in certain situations, how he controlled the pitching staff, how he was an extension of Sully [Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan] on the field – I think those were the greatest things I learned from him. I think it’s my job to get ready this year and be an extension of Sully on the field, just like he was.”

 

On what he has worked on for the upcoming season:

“The biggest thing that I’ve been working on is throwing down and getting my timing better, definitely learning every single one of the pitchers and their sign sets, how to handle them and their personalities, specifically when they’re on the mound during the game. It’s my job to make sure they’re the most comfortable that they can possibly be to where they feel comfortable, they can throw strikes and they can perform the best that they can.”

 

On the new pitchers to look forward to this season:

“I would say that every single one of our freshmen pitchers is definitely a factor when they come in. They all bring something to the table.”

 

On his struggles at the plate last season and how he plans to improve:

“I think for the most part, it was me getting a little bit burned out, but I think this year I’m a lot more prepared for it – I just wasn’t prepared for it last year. Mentally, I know what a grind it is this year and I think working hard and working smart are two different things. I feel like I’ve definitely worked smart this year instead of just working flat out hard. I think working smart helps you get prepared for different types of situations and that grind that you’ll face eventually.”

 

On his advice to the newcomers:

“It’s definitely a grind. It’s a lot different than high school when you’re playing 27 games and that’s your season and that’s not even half of what you play here. The biggest thing is to not get too high and not to get too low. I’ve told a couple of guys that. It’s always good to stay even keeled.”

 

Redshirt sophomore Zack Powers

On the excitement of the 2013 season after missing last year due to injury:

“It’s definitely exciting. If you’ve ever taken a year off of anything, you’re definitely excited to be back, especially with baseball. I’m really excited about being back.”

 

On the struggle of sitting out last year:

“It was pretty difficult, but it helped a lot that the team did pretty well. I was excited about that.”

 

On what positions he’s been working at:

“Primarily, I’m working at third [base], but I’m getting ready at first [base] just in case my arm doesn’t come back or just in case someone gets hurt, that way I have another position on the field that I can play.

 

On the confidence in sophomore Taylor Gushue behind the plate:

“We’re definitely excited for [Taylor] Gushue to be back behind the plate. He had all of last year to learn from [Mike] Zunino and we definitely think he picked up a lot. He’s going to be great behind the plate.”

 

On freshman shortstop Richie Martin:

“I actually played a little bit with Richie [Martin] in high school and he’s talented and athletic. He’s got a great future here and he has definitely improved a lot since the fall. He’s going to be a great asset for us this year.”

 

Senior Cody Dent

On how he’s guiding the younger players:

“I’m just using my past experiences to try and get them ready for the season – telling them how to get ready mentally and physically because it’s a grind.”

 

On the difference of being a part of a young team:

“All of my past teams have always been a lot of seniors, a lot of upperclassmen, but it’s a nice change. There are a lot of young guys and they’re willing to work hard and they’re willing to step up, so it’s going to be good.”

 

His leadership role on the team:

“Last year, there were a lot of upperclassmen, so my responsibilities as a leader weren’t as much, but this year there are more freshmen and it comes down to leading by example and sharing my experiences.”

 

On the talent of the newcomers:

“There are a lot of young guys that are going to contribute – you can’t really pick a handful of them out. They all have a role and they’ll be able to step up.”

 

On his personal goals for the upcoming season:

“I’m just working hard, getting ready to play wherever they want me to and do whatever I can to help out.”

 

On the chemistry between sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon and freshman shortstop Richie Martin:

“They’re both really great defensive players and they also contribute offensively in their own ways. Both of them can handle the bat. Casey [Turgeon] has got that pop and Richie [Martin] has the speed on the bases, so they’ll both contribute.”

 

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