Feb. 15, 2011

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Nine Innings with Bret Atwood

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

phil@collegebaseballinsider.com @roadtoomaha


Senior outfielder Bret Atwood is a three-year letterman and two-year starter for Southland favorite Texas State. A native of Katy, Texas, Atwood batted .268 as a freshman in 35 games with 17 starts. He started 53 of 55 games in centerfield as a sophomore, hitting .368 with 86 hits, 59 runs, 30 RBI and 14 steals.


A season ago, Atwood batted .346 in 60 starts with 88 hits, 13 doubles, 46 runs, 36 RBI and 12 steals. Atwood was voted Third Team All-Southland.


The Bobcats were 41-17 in 2009, winning the regular-season title and earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Texas State won the regular-season crown again in 2010, but lost to eighth-seed Nichols in the opening round. The Bobcats won four straight to reach the championship game, but lost to seventh-seeded Lamar to finish the year at 38-22.


Atwood, a preseason All-Southland selection for the third consecutive year, recently took time to answer our questions.


First Inning - What was the biggest adjustment you had to make from high school to college baseball?
The biggest adjustment was the speed of the game, and baseball in college is more of a job because of how much time you put into it and representing a Division I university.

Second Inning - What factors helped you go from a part-time player as a freshman to the starting centerfielder as a sophomore?
The centerfielder before me got hurt and during the fall, I worked hard to prove to the coaches that I could be a full-time player in center.

Third Inning - How important is your defense in making you a successful player?
Playing defense is a big part of my game. I strive to be one of the top defensive players, and I also enjoy defense as much as offense so that helps, too.

Fourth Inning - How has the program progressed in your time at Texas State?
The program has progressed rapidly while I have been here. We got a new stadium while I was here, and now our stadium is one of the best in the nation. The support of our program has progressed as well.

Fifth Inning - Conference games are tough enough. How do you get ready for midweek dates with national powers like Arkansas, Baylor, Rice, Texas, TCU and Texas A&M?
Our conference is a fight every weekend and every Monday we are tired from the weekend before, but it's not hard to get ready for a game against some of the best teams in the nation. We want to one day be the team that people talk about on their schedules and to do that we have to beat these teams.

Sixth Inning - Did the fact that the Texas Rangers reached the World Series this past fall help baseball throughout the state of Texas?
A lot of people around San Marcos are from the Dallas area so that was big here around that time. I have noticed more students asking when the baseball season starts this year so I would say that it has helped out around the state of Texas.

Seventh Inning - How frustrating was it to lose in the first round of the Southland Tournament, then win four straight before falling to Lamar in the championship game? Is that motivation for the 2011 season?
It wasn't as frustrating as people would think. After the first loss, we knew we had a good enough team to win five straight games, but we came up a little short to a good Lamar team.

Eighth Inning - Texas State is the favorite to win the conference this year. Do you prefer being the hunted or the hunter?
The hunted because we want to be a top team in the nation and to do that we have to win conference. We know that like the last two years, Southland Conference baseball is very good top to bottom, and we have to be ready to play everyday or anybody could beat us.

Ninth Inning - What should we expect from the Bobcats this season?
With what happened last year and everything, we expect to be back in a regional and to go farther than we have ever gone before.


(photos courtesy of Texas State Media Relations Office)