Feb. 19, 2010

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Nine Innings with Cameron Rupp

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


Cameron Rupp is a junior catcher at the University of Texas. A native of Plano, Texas, Rupp is a two-year starter for the Longhorns.


A season ago, Rupp played in 63 games with 60 starts behind the plate. He batted .292 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI. Rupp helped Texas reach the College World Series, finishing second to LSU. Rupp was named to the Austin Regional All-Tournament Team and the College World Series All-Tournament Team.


A Freshman All-American in 2008, Rupp appeared in 54 games as a rookie with 51 starts at catcher. He hit .309 with 17 doubles, four homers and 32 RBI.


Rupp caught all 25 innings in a 3-2 win over Army in the 2009 Austin Regional. He has been behind the plate for two Texas no-hitters, Kenn Kasparek against Texas State in 2008 and Brandon Workman against Penn State in 2009.


Rupp recently took time to answer our questions.


First Inning – The Longhorns finished second at the 2009 College World Series. Do you put that behind you or use it as motivation for 2010?

Absolutely we will be using every bit of that loss last year to motivate us in 2010. I can speak for everyone else on the 2009 team and as well for any other team that has finished second in anything. You never strive for second place. You want it all and that’s what we are going for. We will use a lot of experience in this upcoming year to help the team get to that ultimate goal at the end.

Second Inning – How has the attitude of the team been during preseason practice?

The attitude this winter and early spring has shown that we are really beginning to become the definition of a team. We have been working together better than ever at this point and have really shown a lot of chemistry. We all are getting very anxious for this season to start and we are ready to see someone in a different uniform.

Third Inning – Texas is the consensus No. 1 in the preseason polls. Is that an advantage or disadvantage for the Longhorns?

I really do not think that being No. 1 is an advantage or a disadvantage especially for the preseason because you haven't played anyone yet. You have to go out to play every day and stay within yourself and play the game and not worry about the rankings. But what you really need to ask yourself is what is it going take for this team to be No. 1 at the end of the season.

Fourth Inning – You had 60 starts behind the plate a season ago. How did your body feel after the College World Series? Would you prefer fewer starts this season?

After last season I was still good shape and ready to continue playing. I still felt like I could play more games even after the World Series. I enjoy playing every day and being a part of every pitch. I feel like if I want to be successful at the next level I am going to have to be able to catch 160 games a year and still be productive and ready for more.

Fifth Inning – How do you balance your offensive approach at the plate and your defensive approach behind the plate?

When I am on offense and our team is hitting my focus is on the tendencies of the pitcher to see if there is any way I can find a slight edge for me to win the at-bat. I feel like being a catcher I am able to have better pitch recognition and knowing the umpire’s strike zone is also an advantage.

Defensively I am looking to use the pitcher’s strengths to help him set up the hitters to keep them off balance. I am also looking to make sure I am always on the same page with my pitcher at all times.
A way that we all look at it is that when its time to play defense you forget about your at-bat and get focused on being ready for the ball. If you make an error, don't bring it to your at-bat. Start over, regroup and have confidence you’re going to get the job done

Sixth Inning – How valuable is it for the Longhorns to have a veteran catcher working with a veteran staff this season?

It's an advantage that we have worked together for a couple years so I think this a huge confidence booster. I feel the most important part is that I am always on the same page as the pitchers. We have worked together for a couple years. And for some like Brandon Workman and Stayton Thomas, it's been since we were 9 years old. I believe that helps a lot because I have developed such a good relationship with these guys. I feel like they know I am going to do what it takes to get all they can give each time the get on the mound.

Seventh Inning – How have you been fortunate enough to catch two no-hitters while at Texas? Do you handle the pitchers differently in the late innings of a no-hitter?

I have been very fortunate to work with Kenn and Brandon over the last few years and being able to share those moments with them was very special.  I feel that if their stuff has been good enough for the first seven innings then you have to continue to use their strengths on that day. There is no reason to change anything when it is work so well.

Eighth Inning – How was it to catch all 25 innings in the Longhorns’ 3-2 win over Army in last season’s regional?

It was awesome to be part of a huge historical night in college baseball. It was amazing being able to catch Austin Wood's outstanding performance that many will never forget and it was awesome to win because it was just the beginning of the magical run we made to Omaha.

Ninth Inning – Your father, Kevin, played baseball at the University of Houston. Did you give serious thought to playing for the Cougars?

I always thought about following in my dad's footsteps growing up but when I received the chance to play at the University of Texas, which has been a lifetime dream,  it was an opportunity I could not pass up.


(photo courtesy of Texas Media Relations Office)