Hello everyone and welcome back to From the 'Pen. For my final post, I decided to sit down with the teammate who has been here the past five years with me - Tyler Barss.
For those that do not know Tyler that well, his nickname is the Brick - because he is built just like a brick house. We also joke that he's our "Director of Field Operations", because he's always working on the mound, or doing other odd jobs around The Beck, to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. His most important role though is being the closer for our team. He has been closing games for the program the last two seasons and has had a lot of success while being in that role.
TS: This past season you established a new program program record for most career saves after finishing off a 3-0 win at Arkansas. Setting that record is even more impressive since you were hurt your first two seasons here. How did you feel after you learned about breaking the record?
TB: After we beat Arkansas and I got the save to break the record, I knew in my head that I broke it but at the same time I never really thought about it too much. I'm really not one to care about records or want to own all the records. It was more important that we beat Arkansas since it was game three of the series and they were also ranked at the time.
TS: Yeah, that was definitely a huge win for our team. You and I have been here for half a decade now and have been a part of a lot of success for the program. What would you say was the best memory you've had here?
TB: You and I have been through a lot in the five years we've been here, haven't we? We went from coming in freshman year and having a 13-win season to a couple years later to winning the Atlantic 10 championship and beating South Carolina in a Regional. I would have to say that South Carolina game was my favorite memory, since we got the program's first win in an NCAA Regional.
I remember getting that chopper hit back to me – with a 5-4 lead, two outs and a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth – and when I threw the ball over to first, all that was going through my head was "I'm either going to launch this over the first baseman's head or we're going to win this game." Thankfully we ended up winning.
TS: Haha yeah, I'll be honest with you, when I was watching from home, after having surgery, I closed my eyes as soon as you let go of that ball and thought the same thing. But anyways! Aside from video games, what are some of the non-baseball things you like doing?
TB: Pretty much everyone on the team knows I am a big video gamer and I enjoy playing Call of Duty at least a couple hours a week. Besides video gaming though, my favorite thing to do, besides baseball, is just hanging out with the guys and doing stuff together like playing corn hole or wiffle ball in the backyard. There's nothing better than just hanging out and relaxing with the guys.
TS: You're not fooling anyone here - by "a couple hours a week" you really mean "a couple hours a day" but moving on... We've taken many different trips around the country throughout our time here, what would you say has been your favorite?
TB: My most memorable trip was taking that 22-hour bus trip from Arkansas to William & Mary. We originally were going to fly there, but there was a severe storm going on that prevented us from flying, so we had to bus it instead. We made a total of six stops and had four different bus drivers along the way there. It was pretty funny when hour 19-20 came along and I was the only person awake on the bus doing homework while everyone else was sleeping. I must say though, I was able to finish more homework on that bus ride than I had in weeks!
TS: If you had to pick one way to end your URI baseball career, what would it be and why?
TB: I would say just being able to finish my last year of college baseball injury free and being able to spend as much time as possible with my friends here. I know that I'll be able to leave here and look back on so many great memories. And hopefully this last season only adds to that with us winning another Atlantic 10 championship and going far into the playoffs.
It is safe to say that I think everyone wants the same thing Barss does - and that is to win another conference championship and make a run in the playoffs, especially with the talent we have!
Winter break is quickly approaching and this is the most important time for us baseball players to get ready for the season that is now only a couple months away. You won't see us around campus much, but we'll all be at home, getting the work done when nobody is watching.
One final thing to mention as the fall semester winds to a close - this will be my final blog… but don't worry… From the 'Pen will be back in 2018, with my fellow teammate and senior Dom Grillo taking over. Until then, thank you to everyone who has read this blog throughout my final fall semester at URI. I hope you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
Lastly, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you at The Beck!