Feb. 6, 2012

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Nine Innings with Jeremy Gendlek

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

Phil@collegebaseballinsider.com @RoadToOmaha


Utah Valley dominated the Great West Conference a season ago, winning 22 of 24 league contests. The leader on the mound was Jeremy Gendlek, the conference Pitcher of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in 2011. The right-hander went 7-3 in 14 games and set a program record with a 1.71 ERA. In league outings, Gendlek was 6-0 with a 0.41 ERA. The native of Olympia, Wash., pitched at Western Nevada Community College before transferring to Utah Valley.


Gendlek recently took time to answer our questions about the Wolverines.


First Inning – What did it mean to you to be named 2011 Great West Conference Pitcher of the Year?

Being named Pitcher of the Year was an absolute honor, especially with some of the arms I was up against in our conference. Every team had some great pitchers, especially NJIT who had some guys who had awesome seasons on the mound, so putting up some of the numbers I did really shows how well our team played together.

Second Inning – UVU was 22-2 in conference games last year. What made the Wolverines so dominant?

We started off the season pretty slow, including a losing streak that we would all like to forget. By the time conference rolled around, we had a fire lit under us and we had our eyes set on the conference championship. Making the mistakes early in the season was somewhat of a blessing in disguise because we learned from them and played great the rest of the season.

Third Inning – Did your non-conference schedule prepare you well for league play?

Definitely. It's always a great experience to get to play some of the top programs in the country. Although we didn't fair too well in our early non-conference games, we improved every week so by the time we got to our conference schedule, we had gotten all of the kinks out.

Fourth Inning – How satisfying was it to sweep through the Great West Conference Tournament?

When a team plays in a tournament like that, it can always be stressful on a pitching staff. It was great to be able to save some arms and let a couple of our seniors close out the championship game. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Fifth Inning – You were 5-0 with an ERA of 0.41 in six conference starts last year. How were you able to dominate so decisively?

After a few slower starts in the early season in the cold weather, I had improved the way I went about my job on the mound. I wasn't getting as many strikeouts as I would have liked but as the season went on and my confidence grew, I felt more comfortable each outing and was able to get the job done. We faced some great hitting teams in our conference and luckily we came out on top at the end of the season.

Sixth Inning – Your defense posted a fielding percentage of .971 last season. How confident does that make you when you take the mount?

Knowing my teammates would be there to make the outs every time gave me a lot of confidence to pitch to contact. The days I didn't have my best stuff, I knew we would still have a great chance to win because our defense dominated all year. Having a defense like that behind me made my job a whole lot easier.

Seventh Inning – You pitched for two seasons at Western Nevada before your arrival at UVU. What were the top things you learned there?

I was blessed to be given the opportunity to play at a Western Nevada. What Coach DJ Whittemore did with the program in the short time he had it was amazing. I didn't pitch much my freshman year but we ended up being third in the country so being able to watch and learn how to go about winning the way the guys on that team did taught me a lot. I was fortunate enough to be a starter sophomore year against some of the best junior college teams in the country, so playing at that level really got me prepared for Division 1 baseball. Being a part of a winning program at Western Nevada made it an easy transformation to a winning Division 1 program here at Utah Valley.

Eighth Inning – What should we expect from the Wolverines in 2012?

Our coaching staff has prepared us for our best season yet. I know we have the talent to play in an NCAA regional. Our pitching staff is deeper than ever and we have a ton of talent at the plate. Our senior class brings a lot of leadership and experience to a team that is ready to get the season under way and get the Utah Valley baseball program on the list of elite college baseball teams.

Ninth Inning – Which road trip are you anticipating most this season?

This is a toss up between Seattle U and Cal State Fullerton. Being an Olympia, Wash. native, I'm very excited to start our season off in Seattle. It's always great to be able to pitch in front of family and friends who have supported me since Day 1. Cal State Fullerton will be an awesome trip. It'll be a great opportunity being able to play a program like theirs, which has so much talent and history. 


(photos courtesy of Utah Valley Media Relations Office)